We Energies seeks approval of renewable energy plan

Posted on November 6, 2008. Filed under: Energy Policy |

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

We Energies asked state regulators Wednesday to approve a plan, projected to cost up to $69 million, to help it comply with a state mandate to boost the state’s supply of renewable energy by 2015.

The Milwaukee-based utility company wants the state ruling to give it flexibility to buy wind turbines and acquire potential wind farm sites well before the Public Service Commission approves a wind power project. Customers would not be billed until after the wind power projects are built.

State law requires utilities to add more renewable energy projects so 10% of the state’s electricity comes from wind turbines and other renewable power sources by 2015. That will require at least three major wind power projects in addition to the one We Energies already has opened and one that it hopes to build by 2012, the utility said.

Last week, the utility asked the commission to approve Glacier Hills Wind Park, which would generate up to 200 megawatts in Columbia County at a cost of up to $530 million. Depending on the size of the project, Glacier Hills would generate enough electricity to power up to 45,000 typical homes.

The utility projects it will need to spend $45 million in down payments or reservation fees for wind turbines and $21 million for sites for renewable energy projects.

A consumer group said commission rules already allow the utility to recoup costs associated with building wind power projects, and that there is no need for state regulators to approve We Energies’ proposal.

“This is an unneeded insurance policy that could put ratepayers at jeopardy for unreasonable costs,” said Charlie Higley, executive director of the Wisconsin Citizens’ Utility Board.

The utility also projects spending up to $3 million on a study to examine the feasibility of building a 20-megawatt wind power demonstration project on Lake Michigan.


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