Columbia Energy Air Quality Improvements Begun

A groundbreaking celebration has marked the start
of a large environmental technology project at the
Columbia Energy Center near Portage, Wisconsin.
Alliant Energy, along with the facility’s co-owners,
Wisconsin Public Service and Madison Gas and
Electric, are installing another air quality control
system at the facility. Utility employees were joined
by project contractors, labor leaders and federal,
state and local officials at the event.

The co-owners are building a selective catalytic
reduction (SCR) system at Unit 2 to reduce nitrogen
oxides by at least 50 percent. The total investment in
the environmental technology is approximately $110
million, and during construction, it is expected to
employ up to 100 workers. The project is scheduled
for completion by the end of 2018.

The SCR system is the second major air quality control
system installed at the Columbia Energy Center in
recent years. In 2014 baghouse and scrubber systems
were completed on both Units 1 and 2, and they are
reducing mercury and sulfur dioxide by over 90
percent from previous levels. These air quality
improvement projects at Alliant Energy’s largest
generating stations are part of an overall plan to move
toward cleaner energy. The plan also includes retiring
older and less efficient facilities, building the natural
gas-fueled Riverside expansion near Beloit, Wis.,
additional renewable energy and continued investments
in energy efficiency.

American Transmission Company’s Headquarters Sold

The American Transmission Company corporate headquarters
in Pewaukee, a 13.9-acre property, has been sold to an
affiliate of Cleveland-based MAI Capital Management by an
affiliate of Chicago-based Oak Street Real Estate Capital.

The owner purchased the ATC headquarters in 2012 for
$65 million from Interstate Partners. The facility is known as
RidgeView Office Center III. It has a three-story 123,833-
squarefoot office building, a 33,600-square-foot industrial
building and 357 parking spaces. The buildings were
constructed in 2009.

Anne Spaltholz, ATC director of corporate communications,
said the company has a long-term lease for the facility and
there will be no changes to its operations.

MGE Announces Leadership Changes

 

Madison Gas and Electric and MGE Energy have announced
that effective March 1, 2017, Gary Wolter will retire as
President and CEO of MGE Energy and its subsidiary,
Madison Gas and Electric Company. Jeffrey Keebler will
assume the roles of President and CEO at that time.  Wolter
will continue as Chairman of the Board of both companies.

Keebler also was appointed to the Boards of Directors of
both companies effective March 1, 2017. The announcement
reflects the Company’s succession planning and thoughtful
transition in executive leadership. The Company remains
committed to its mission as a community energy company.

Wolter took over as President and CEO of both MGE and
MGE Energy in February 2000 and took over as Chair in
February 2002.  Upon his retirement, Wolter will be the
longest serving Chair and CEO in Company history.

“It has been an honor to serve our community over the
years and work with such dedicated and capable coworkers.
I am grateful for this opportunity,” Wolter said.

Keebler started with MGE in 1995. He has a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Finance and Economics from the
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a Master of Business
Administration from the University of Wisconsin-
Whitewater. He has held various leadership positions at
MGE in Energy Supply, Rates, Generation Planning,
Information Technology, Customer Service and Human
Resources. He is currently MGE’s Senior Vice President –
Energy Supply and Planning. “I look forward to building
on the foundation laid by my predecessors and addressing
the challenges of the future,” Keebler said.

Jeffrey Newman, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial
Officer, Secretary and Treasurer, will take on an expanded
role. Gregory Bollom, Assistant Vice President – Energy
Planning, and John Jicha, Director – Energy Supply and
Trading, will report to Newman. Craig Fenrick, Senior Vice
President – Energy Operations, also will take on additional
responsibilities. Joseph DePoorter, Director -NERC
Compliance and Generation Operations, will report to
Fenrick.

WEC Interested in Former Coke Plant Property

WEC Energy may buy a 46-acre former Solvay Coke property in Milwaukee. After an environmental clean-up effort, the site could be an important part of the harbor area’s redevelopment.

The contaminated property has frontage on the Kinnickinnic River and Milwaukee’s inner harbor south of Greenfield Avenue. Although contaminated from past years of industrial use, the property’s size, water frontage and location south of downtown has made Solvay Coke a perennial subject of redevelopment talks. Former industrial buildings were torn down earlier this summer.

The property has been owned by Golden Marina Causeway LLC, of Illinois, which has been going through an ongoing bankruptcy case.

2016 Annual Meeting Thank you

2016-09-15-10-09-51

Cathy Stepp, Wisconsin DNR Secretary, addressing members at the 2016 WUI Annual Meeting Held at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay


We wish to thank . . .

Our excellent speakers:
Cathy Stepp, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary
and Pat Stevens, DNR Division Administrator Air, Waste, and Remediation and Development.

Our panelists:  Chris LaRowe (Wisconsin Public Service), Matt Pagel (Xcel Energy), John Sumi (MG&E), Kristin Gilkes (Alliant), and  Joel Haubrich (WE Energies).

Our Host and luncheon speaker:  National Railroad Museum Education Director, Robert Lettenberger.

Our members:  We thank our WUI members for your attendance and participation!

Gratefully,

Executive Director, James Buchen
Deputy Director, Michelle Lancaster
Chairman of the Board, Roger Cole
& the WUI Board of Directors

Xcel Energy Nears Completion of Wind Plan for Upper Midwest

Xcel Energy, the number one utility wind energy provider in the nation for twelve years running, added more renewable energy to its Upper Midwest system with the Odell Wind Farm coming on line this month. The power generated will be used by customers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The Odell Wind Farm has 100 wind turbines spanning four southern Minnesota communities, including Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin and Watonwan counties. It will generate 200 megawatts of electricity, delivering enough energy to power 105,000 homes in the Upper Midwest. The clean energy produced at Odell Wind Farm is expected to help avoid an average 368,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
“Adding Odell Wind Farm to our growing renewable energy fleet is one of many ways we’re giving customers the clean energy options they want,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “This wind purchase is another significant step forward in our goal to deliver 35 percent renewable energy to our Upper Midwest customers by 2030.”

“Sustainable growth and operation of our fleet of renewable generation facilities are key ingredients in the value we deliver to our shareholders,” commented Ian Robertson, the Chief Executive Officer of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. “The Odell facility’s strong wind resources and long-term power supply agreement with Xcel make it an excellent addition to our portfolio of operating facilities.”

The Odell Wind Farm is part of a commitment Xcel Energy made in 2013 to expand its wind capacity by 42 percent by adding 750 megawatts of cost-effective, clean wind energy into the Upper Midwest by the end of 2016. Also part of this commitment, the Border Winds and Pleasant Valley wind farms came on line in late 2015, adding 350 megawatts to the system. The Courtenay Wind Farm in North Dakota will add another 200 megawatts when it is complete at the end of 2016.  Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation owns the Odell Wind Farm, a project initially developed by Geronimo Energy. Under a 20 year power purchase agreement, Xcel Energy will purchase power from the Odell project.

2016 Election Preview by James Buchen, Executive Director, WUI

james-buchen

James Buchen, Executive Director, WUI

With the election just weeks away the race for the Whitehouse is beginning to close. The fact that Donald Trump has become competitive nationally as well as in Wisconsin has eased concerns by some Republicans that a poor performance at the top of the ticket might adversely affect candidates down ballot. In the race for the U.S. Senate, former Senator Russ Feingold has been leading in the polls but the race remains close. The outcome of the Wisconsin Senate race could swing control of the U.S. Senate, though it is looking increasingly likely that Republicans will retain control of that house in the next congress. Similarly Republicans are expected to retain control of the House of Representatives next session as well.

In Wisconsin, the Legislature is currently controlled by Republicans with a margin of 19 to 14 in the State Senate and 63 to 36 in the Assembly. Half of the members of the Senate are up for election this year but there appears to only be one truly close, contested race.  The race for the vacant 18th Senate District seat that includes Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Waupun appears close, though analysis of its historic voting patterns suggests that it leans Republican. Regardless of the outcome in that race, the Republicans are likely to retain control of the State Senate.

In the Assembly, all 99 seats are up for election this year though no more than a dozen appear to be close contests. Even if the Republicans lose a couple of seats they will retain control of the Assembly.

From an energy policy standpoint the outcome of the Presidential election could have a significant impact on issues ranging from the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to oil and gas production and pipeline construction. In Wisconsin, with Republicans likely to remain in control of both houses and the Governor’s office, we should expect a sensible policy environment without any costly new energy regulations.

There is a lot at stake this election year.  Be sure to get out and vote on November 8th.

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