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RELIABILITY CORPORATION WARNS OF POTENTIAL BLACKOUT RISKS

Hot weather, a growing economy and the early retirement of coal-fired plants could mean a heightened risk of blackouts this summer, according to the nation’s electric grid watchdog.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has warned that parts of the upper Midwest face a “high risk” of energy emergencies under certain conditions, such as extreme heat or unexpected generator outages.

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CARDINAL-HICKORY CREEK LINE CONTROVERSY CONTINUES

Utilities building a controversial power line through southwest Wisconsin say supply chain issues and ongoing court battles have added more than $49 million to the price tag.

As required under the construction permit, the owners of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line notified the Public Service Commission Friday that the cost would exceed the authorized $492 million price tag by more than ten percent. They say the total cost is now unknown.

The PSC permit does not require additional approval for price overruns. “Rising costs are presently a reality in all industries, and the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project is no exception,“ according to Alissa Braatz, a spokesperson for American Transmission Company, one of the line’s three co-owners.

Meanwhile, opponents of the line between Dubuque, Iowa, and Middleton, Wisconsin, are asking a federal appeals court to temporarily halt construction on either side of the Mississippi River while the court considers whether the line can cross the river as planned.

KEWAUNEE NUCLEAR POWER SALE APPROVED

Wisconsin regulators have approved the sale of a shuttered nuclear plant, leaving hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars in the hands of a private contractor. 

The Public Service Commission voted unanimously Wednesday, May 25 to allow Dominion Energy to sell the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant to Utah-based EnergySolutions for an undisclosed sum. EnergySolutions will also get about $835 million set aside to cover the cost of decommissioning the 49-year-old plant.

The commission rejected arguments from consumer advocates who said the deal lacked provisions that could return some $285 million to customers of Alliant Energy and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. 

Any unused funds in the decommissioning trust are to be returned to ratepayers, but the deal doesn’t cap expenses, giving EnergySolutions discretion over how the money is spent. 



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DAIRYLAND COOPERATIVE CONSIDERING USING A NEW TYPE OF NUCLEAR

The future of nuclear energy in Wisconsin could be different than huge power plants along Lake Michigan as energy companies explore small-scale reactors which wouldn't require nearly as much water and could be operated in a wide range of locations.

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XCEL ENERGY RECOGNIZED FOR CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

Xcel Energy has been inducted into the Climate Leadership Hall of Fame for its outstanding environmental progress, having earned two Climate Leadership Awards in the past decade for industry-leading carbon reduction efforts. The company was also honored with The Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award for its groundbreaking sustainability goals in Minnesota.

“Xcel Energy’s strong track record in reducing carbon emissions is due to our ongoing commitment to delivering the cleaner energy our customers want. It’s why we’re the first U.S. energy provider to set ambitious clean energy goals across all the ways our customers use energy—electricity, heating, and transportation,” said Bob Frenzel, Chairman, President and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We’re absolutely delighted to be among the first inducted into the Climate Leadership Hall of Fame and are honored to be recognized as a national climate leader.”

ALLIANT ENERGY APPLAUDS FEDERAL ACTION ON SOLAR TARIFFS

Following the news that the Biden administration is preventing tariffs from being imposed on the solar industry for at least the next two years, Alliant Energy shared the following statement:

“At Alliant Energy, we’re driven by our commitment to serving customers and building stronger communities. We applaud President Biden for taking this action.

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PEREGRINE FALCONS FLOURISH AT WPS, WE ENERGIES SITES

Wisconsin Public Service and We Energies are celebrating a milestone year for their popular peregrine falcon program. People around the world tuned in to the live web cameras to watch these endangered birds hatch and grow up.

This year marks 30 years since the first captive-bred peregrine falcons were released from a WPS or We Energies power plant. To celebrate the 30-year anniversary, thousands of customers voted to name this year’s chicks after the best of 1992. So far, 12 chicks have hatched and 10 have been given identification bands.

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DIVIDENDS: JUNE ANNOUNCEMENT

XCEL ENERGY BOARD DECLARES DIVIDEND ON COMMON STOCK
The Board of Directors of Xcel has declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of 48.75 cents per share. The dividends are payable July 20, 2022, to shareholders of record on June 15, 2022.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with operations in 8 Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.7 million electricity customers and 2.1 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.

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Xcel Energy First Quarter 2022 Earnings Report

Xcel Energy has reported 2022 first quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $380 million, or $0.70per share, compared with $362 million, or $0.67 per share in the same period in 2021.

Earnings reflect capital investment recovery and other regulatory outcomes, partially offset by higher depreciation, interest expense and operating and maintenance expenses.

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Xcel VP for Regulatory Affairs Named for Texas-New Mexico Service Area

Brooke Trammell, who has served as regional vice president for Rates and Regulatory Affairs for Xcel Energy’s Colorado jurisdiction since 2018, has accepted the position of Regional Vice President for Regulatory and Pricing for the Texas and New Mexico system, succeeding Bill Grant who is retiring June 1. Trammell has been with Xcel Energy for almost a decade, starting in Amarillo as a regulatory case specialist in September 2012 before taking the role of rate case manager in 2014.

She left regulatory in 2016 when she was named director for Customer and Community Relations in Texas and New Mexico.

 

PSCW Wants State's Energy Efficiency Program to Play a Larger Role in Cutting Emissions

The state’s utility regulators want Wisconsin’s energy efficiency program to play a larger role in cutting carbon emissions as part of efforts to combat climate change.

The Public Service Commission has voted 2-1 for the state’s Focus on Energy program to play a greater role in cost-effectively cutting carbon emissions while continuing to emphasize energy savings. However, Republican lawmakers are wary. 

Commissioners have supported research, planning and investment of resources that would set Focus on a path toward playing a larger role in promoting replacement of fossil fuels with electricity to reduce emissions and energy costs.

The commission stopped short of fully changing Focus on Energy’s goals, opting instead to treat the next four years as a “transitional period” in which the program maintains an emphasis on energy savings while also making “measurable progress” toward reducing carbon emissions.

Alliant Energy Completes First Customer-Hosted Rooftop Solar Site in Dodgeville

The first solar rooftop installation of Alliant Energy’s Customer-Hosted Renewables program is now operational in Iowa County. The 300-kilowatt solar system utilizes over 700 solar panels on 29,000 square feet of Iowa County’s new Law Enforcement Center roof in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It will provide clean energy to the local electric grid and at maximum output could produce enough energy to power nearly 50 homes.

PSC Awards $10 Million in Energy Innovation Grants for 46 Projects

The Public Service Commission has awarded $10 million in funding from the Energy Innovation Grant Program. The grants went to forty-six projects that reduce energy consumption and demand, install renewable energy and battery storage technologies, and create comprehensive energy plans. Applications for this grant cycle were due on January 14, 2022. The PSC received 105 applications requesting more than $31 million in funding.

“I am thrilled with the grants that were funded today, which will support manufacturers, farms, local governments, schools, nonprofits, and residents across Wisconsin invest in innovative clean energy projects and save on energy costs,” according to PSC Commissioner Tyler Huebner. “The Energy Innovation Grant Program is a vital resource to help in our statewide efforts to keep energy affordable and reduce carbon emissions.”

Madison Solar Project Delivering Locally Generated Clean Energy

Madison Gas and Electric’s latest solar array, the 8-megawatt Hermsdorf Solar Fields, is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE's distribution grid. The project in southeast Madison provides solar energy to the City of Madison and to the Madison Metropolitan School District under MGE's innovative Renewable Energy Rider.

Klappa, Lauber Highlight Year at Annual Meeting

At WEC Energy Group's virtual annual meeting of stockholders Executive Chairman Gale Klappa and President and CEO Scott Lauber highlighted how the company is building a bridge to the future with aggressive environmental goals and a focus on affordable, reliable and clean energy. They also emphasized how the company's focus on efficiency and financial discipline, along with favorable weather and a solid economic recovery in the region, resulted in record net income and earnings per share.  

2021 Company Highlights:

  • Named one of America's most responsible companies by Newsweek Magazine.
  • Developed the largest five-year capital plan in company history, including nearly 2,400 megawatts of new renewable capacity to serve customers of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service.
  • Announced industry leading environmental goals with an operating plan to achieve them.
  • Sixty percent reduction in CO2 emissions from electric generation by the end of 2025.
  • Eighty percent reduction in CO2 emissions from electric generation by the end of 2030.
  • Net methane neutral in natural gas distribution operations by the end of 2030.
  • Announced a plan to exit from coal for power generation by the end of 2035, with minimal use by the end of 2030.
  • Strengthened the diversity of company leadership, 36 percent of senior vice president and above positions filled by women or minorities compared to 29 percent at year-end 2020.
  • Achieved $270 million in spending with diverse suppliers.
  • Returned $855 million to WEC Energy Group stockholders through dividends.
  • Increased dividends in January 2022 by 7.4 percent to an annual rate of $2.91 per share. This marks the 19th consecutive year of higher dividends.

WEC Energy Group Reports First-Quarter Results

WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $565.9 million, or $1.79 per share, for the first quarter of 2022, up from $510.1 million, or $1.61 per share, for last year's first quarter. Consolidated revenues totaled $2.9 billion, up $216.7 million from the first quarter a year ago.

"A colder than normal winter, a strong economy and the performance of our infrastructure segment were the major factors driving our first-quarter results," said Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman. "The year is off to a solid start as we continue to focus on the fundamentals of our business."

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Alliant Energy Announces First Quarter 2022 Earnings

Alliant Energy Corporation has announced U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) consolidated unaudited earnings per share (EPS) for the three months ended March 31.

“We had a solid start to the year with more than 25 percent of our 2022 guidance midpoint coming in the first quarter, and we are reaffirming our 2022 guidance range of $2.67 to $2.81,” said John Larsen, Alliant Energy Chair, President and CEO. “We are also excited to share yet another major milestone in our purpose-driven clean energy transition, receiving verbal approval today for the remaining 414 megawatts of our nearly 1,100 megawatt proposed solar expansion in Wisconsin.”

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ALLIANT ENERGY'S NEW PORTAGE BATTERY UNIT CAPABLE OF POWERING 5,000 HOMES

Alliant Energy is building a battery storage unit in Portage that will be able to supply power in short stretches to 5,000 homes. Battery storage units store energy from the sun as alternating current power for later use. The new 5-megawatt energy storage system in Portage will double Alliant Energy’s Midwest battery storage capacity. Alliant, like other utilities, has been piloting advances in battery storage technology. The Portage unit will be Alliant’s fourth in the state and eighth in the Midwest.

“Battery storage will ensure we continue to deliver safe, clean and reliable energy to our customers as we grow our renewable energy portfolio,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. 

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WISCONSIN'S LARGEST SOLAR FARM WILL BE BUILT IN DANE COUNTY

Wisconsin’s largest solar farm to date has been approved by state regulators, to be constructed later this year on nearly 5,000 acres of farm land in Dane County. The Koshkonong Solar Energy Center will produce enough energy to power about 80,000 homes once it's completed at the end of 2024.

The project is being developed by Invenergy, a Chicago-based developer and will later be sold to Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Madison Gas and Electric Company for $649 million. The solar energy center will include 300 megawatts of solar and a 165 megawatt battery energy storage system on approximately 7 square miles of agricultural land in the towns of Christiana and Deerfield. About 3.75 square miles will be developed for the project.

XCEL ENERGY FOUNDATION LAUNCHES ENERGIZING THE FUTURE GRANT

As the Xcel Energy Foundation opens applications for its 2022 grant program, it’s announcing the launch of Energizing the Future. This new giving plan better aligns Xcel Energy’s business priorities to reflect diversity, equity and inclusion commitments, while creating a stronger community. The Foundation has also increased annual grant funding in 2022 to $4.4 million, from $3.8 million in 2021, for the company’s eight state service area, strengthening the company’s overall community impact.

“We’re only as strong as the communities we serve, and we see these changes as an opportunity to bring even greater value while also recognizing and reinforcing the importance of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy, Wisconsin and Michigan. Energizing the Future will consist of three focus areas including STEM career pathways, environmental sustainability and community vitality.