Accelerating our transition to renewable energy and preparing the power grid for the future.
We’re adding new solar energy and evaluating next steps for our coal-powered generation in Wisconsin. This approach captures low-cost solar energy opportunities for our customers. It’s also more sustainable.
We’re continually looking at how we produce power and adapting to best serve our customers. Our customers are asking us to provide more renewable energy, faster.
The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically in recent years. Solar energy specifically has become more cost-effective. Our analysis shows that we can take advantage of the best available solar sites along with federal tax incentives to secure lower costs for customers.
As a result, we are accelerating our transition to renewable energy by adding solar energy to our generation fleet.
The Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint is our path forward.
Our analysis led to the creation of the Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint. It’s our long-term approach to producing electricity reliably, affordably, sustainably.
Expanding solar energy will mean reduced reliance on our coal-powered generation. We are evaluating next steps for our coal generation fleet and expect to share more information early in 2020.
We will also begin analysis to develop our Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa early in 2020.
A common question about renewable power is how the lights stay on when renewable energy sources are not available, like at night (when there is no sunlight), or when the wind is not blowing.
The answer: Our electricity is generated from a mix of sources to make sure we have a consistent energy supply. For example, electricity generated from natural gas complements renewable energy. Natural gas generation can ramp up quickly when solar and wind power drops. And it can ramp back down just as quickly during windy and sunny conditions.
Another source of energy is electricity available for purchase in the broader Midwest market.
We are prepared to meet our customers’ highest energy needs at any time of the day, any day of the year.
Renewable energy sources make economic sense because they have no fuel costs; they are also simpler and less expensive to operate and maintain than coal-powered generation.
We can get the best economic value for our customers by starting our solar development now. With this plan, we will:
- Select from the best solar sites in Wisconsin, including lower-cost sites for transmission and interconnection based on regional studies
- Use the federal solar investment tax credit (which will diminish in a few years)
- Leverage the savings from dramatically lower cost solar panels, combined with the improved performance of solar technology available today
Like any investment we make, there will be short-term costs that impact customer bills. However, by using more renewable energy, customers will pay less than they otherwise would have over the longer term – all while continuing to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers.
Installed solar energy has minimal water use and no air emissions.
Our 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report shows our goal to reduce fossil-fueled generation carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2030, and to reduce fossil-fueled generation water supply needs by 75% by 2030.
Accelerating our installation of solar energy is part of our effort to achieve our sustainability goals and provide a clean energy future for our customers.
The Power Grid: What It Was and What It's Becoming
Not long ago, distribution of electricity was fairly simple. It was a one-way street. We generated energy and delivered it directly to you through pipes, wires, substations, poles and transmission lines.
Now, it is an energy highway that flows freely between all parts of the grid. We’re investing in distribution to make the power grid secure, reliable and resilient.
What makes a power grid “smart?”
Simply, it’s the digital communication between you and us, all thanks to computers, controls, automation and technology. This interconnectedness enables the power grid to respond more quickly to your changing energy needs.
Benefits of a smarter, stronger power grid:
- More efficient energy transmission
- Faster power restoration after an outage
- Better ability to integrate wind and solar energy into the grid
- Greater security against tampering or hacking threats