Utilities Recommend $400M Solar-Battery Park In Kenosha County

Feb 17, 2021 09:58 AM ET
  • The Proposal Is The State's First And also Largest Battery Storage Project
Utilities Recommend $400M Solar-Battery Park In Kenosha County
Image: wpr.org

The state's biggest utility business, WEC Energy Group, is partnering with Madison Gas and Electric on a $400 million solar and battery storage space project in Kenosha County. If approved, the project would be the very first and also largest battery storage space project amongst the state's largest utilities.

The Paris Solar-Battery Park would certainly create 200 megawatts of solar energy, which suffices to power 60,000 residences. It would certainly also consist of 110 megawatts of battery storage space that would certainly save solar power for usage when the sunlight isn't shining, according to Brendan Conway, representative for WEC Energy Group.

" Throughout the day, it sends some energy to the grid, but likewise charges those batteries-- 110 megawatts of battery-- which is equal to powering about 33,000 homes for 4 hours," stated Conway.

WEC Energy Group, which owns We Energies as well as Wisconsin Civil service, submitted the proposal with MGE to the Public Service Commission on Tuesday.

The PSC authorized Invenergy to create the 200-megawatt solar farm in the town of Paris last December. The Chicago-based programmer has actually been looking for a customer for the project. WEC Energy Group is suggesting to purchase the solar-battery park for $360 million while MGE would certainly fund the continuing to be $40 million.

If approved, WEC Energy Group would certainly own 90 percent of the project, and MGE would own the remaining 10 percent of the energy produced as well as saved at the park.

" Financial investment in solar energy and battery storage space at the Paris Solar-Battery Park is an opportunity for MGE to spend additionally in economical clean energy and also brand-new technologies to dependably offer all our customers as we function to meet our hostile carbon reduction goals," stated Jeff Keebler, MGE chairman, president as well as CEO in a declaration.

Both utilities claimed the project is a fundamental part of efforts to reduce carbon exhausts in their power mix. Both have actually both promised to go carbon netural by 2050, which is in line with Gov. Tony Evers' objective for utilities to create carbon-free electricity in the following three decades.

WEC Energy Group revealed in November that it would retire 1,800 megawatts of nonrenewable fuel source generation, including the retirement of the 1,100-megawatt South Oak Creek coal plant in southeastern Wisconsin. The utility is dedicating $2 billion to buy 1,500 megawatts of renewable resource that would certainly serve Wisconsin customers, consisting of 800 megawatts of solar power and 600 megawatts of battery storage.

MGE is additionally transitioning far from coal, consisting of the retired life of the 1,100-megawatt Columbia Energy Center revealed previously this month. The Madison-based utility has a section of the coal plant with Alliant Energy as well as Wisconsin Public Service.

Heather Allen, executive supervisor of RENEW Wisconsin, called the project a "significant addition" that would certainly provide the utilities extra control over electric generation.

" I think the prices have actually come down adequately that utilities can make the economic situation that the worth of the energy storage space is good for ratepayers," stated Allen. "It benefits the utility. It's excellent to raise grid reliability."

Tom Content, executive supervisor of the Citizens Utility Board, agreed the project is a significant step forward for utilities.

"Definitely, having the ability to back up storage space to make sure that the power is offered after the sun stops beaming or if there's an abrupt cloud burst as well as you can call on that battery right now, that's the future of the energy system," said Content.

Content said whether battery storage space is cost-efficient will certainly be a question the PSC will have to take into consideration as part of the proposition. In the meantime, he remains to collaborate with utilities on means customers can stay clear of being compelled to pay two times as firms look for to recover costs from investments in coal plants that are no longer being made use of while constructing new projects.

If accepted by regulatory authorities, building would certainly begin in 2022. The park would certainly come to be functional by 2023.