WEC Energy to buy 80% of Illinois wind farm for $148 million

Plans to take 100% tax deduction on purchase price

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

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 05:04 am

Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group announced today it has agreed to acquire an 80 percent stake in Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center in Woodhull, Illinois for $148 million.

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

Construction on the 132-megawatt wind farm was completed in December 2017, and the 52-turbine facility entered production in May.

Bishop Hill owner Invenergy previously constructed Bishop Hill I, at 211.4 megawatts, and Bishop Hill II, with 81 megawatts, at the energy center.

In August 2017, Sun Prairie-based regional power company WPPI Energy signed a 22-year power purchase agreement with Invenergy to buy 100 percent of the electricity from Bishop Hill for its 51 electric utilities, which are in Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Iowa.

“This investment is a logical extension of our core business,” said Gale Klappa, chairman and chief executive officer of WEC Energy Group. “WPPI has been a significant wholesale customer of ours for years, and we’re pleased to extend that relationship with a new, efficient renewable facility that exists within the Micontinent Independent Systems Operator footprint.”

WEC said in its announcement of the pending transaction that the deal is subject to federal approval. If it goes through, the company plans to take advantage of both production tax credits and the section 179 100 percent bonus depreciation tax advantage that allows businesses to deduct the entire purchase price of certain business assets, which was put into place in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December.

WEC Energy Group has about $31 billion in assets. It provides power and gas to 4.5 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota through its utilities, WE Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, Minnesota Energy Resources, and Upper Michigan Energy Resources.

Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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