WEC Energy Group spending $412 million on Illinois wind project

WEC Energy Group headquarters building
WEC Energy Group's Milwaukee corporate headquarters.

Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group will spend $412 million to acquire a 90% stake in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center in McLean County, Illinois.

The project is currently being developed by Invenergy. It will have 64 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts. It is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of 2022. A global Fortune 100 company already has a long-term power purchase agreement in place for the electricity generated from the site.

“The Sapphire Sky project is the latest step forward in our comprehensive plan to accelerate the development of affordable, reliable and clean energy. This project will help meet the energy needs of one of the largest high-tech companies in the world and continue to grow earnings from our portfolio of renewable assets,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman of WEC Energy Group.

WEC Energy Group, the parent company of We Energies, has regularly made similar investments in other wind energy projects in Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas. Combined, the company has invested in eight major wind farms with a total capacity of more than 1.5 gigawatts.

The investments are part of WEC’s non-utility energy infrastructure segment, which has invested more than $2 billion in these deals in recent years.

Separately, WEC’s utilities have announced plans to invest in several solar, battery storage and wind projects across southern Wisconsin over the past year. Those projects will eventually supply power to Wisconsin utility customers as the company works to transition to renewable energy.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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