WEC Energy utilities, MGE plan $649 million investment in Dane County solar project

Two WEC Energy Group utilities and Madison Gas & Electric are proposing a $649 million investment to buy the planned Koshkonong Solar Energy Center in Dane County.

The project would be located in the towns of Christiana and Deefield on either side of Highway 12/18, just west of the Jefferson County line and east of I-39/90. It would have 300 megawatts of solar capacity and another 165 MW of battery storage capacity.

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., two WEC Energy Group utilities, would combine to own 90% of the project while MGE would own the remaining 10%.

Project developer Invenergy is already seeking approvals to build the project. The utilities are now seeking approval to acquire an ownership interest.

If approved, construction would begin in late 2022 with commercial operation starting in 2024.

This is the third solar and battery project the WEC utilities and MGE have proposed to take ownership of this year. WPS and MGE also partnered on a plan to buy a wind farm in the southwestern portion of the state.

For Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group, the project represents another step in the company’s plan to invest $2 billion in new solar, wind and battery storage projects by 2025. WEC’s utilities are investing a combined $928 million in the three other renewable projects.

Adding in the roughly $584 million for the utilities’ 90% share of the Koshkonong project and WEC is more than three-quarters of the way to its $2 billion target just months after announcing it.

“The Koshkonong project is another key component in our effort to build a sustainable future and ensure electric reliability in the region,” said Tom Metcalfe, president of We Energies and WPS. “We saw this winter in Texas and other states the dangerous results when people are without heat and power. Our focus on investing in affordable, reliable and clean energy means customers will have the energy they need when they need it.”

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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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