WPR: Utilities set to spend more than $2B on new transmission lines in Wisconsin

Posted August 2, 2022
Categories: Uncategorized

Three new transmission lines that are estimated to cost around $2.2 billion will cross through Wisconsin under a large expansion approved by the Midwest grid operator that’s designed to facilitate the clean energy transition.

The board for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator signed off on a $10.3 billion portfolio of 18 transmission projects for the Upper Midwest on July 25. The lines are expected to support 53 gigawatts of renewable energy and provide between $23 to $52 billion in benefits as utilities retire aging coal plants. Projects in Wisconsin are slated to start coming online as early as 2028.

“Overall, the projects approved by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) will lead to continued electric reliability in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest, increased access to renewable energy, and the ability to keep bills affordable for our customers,” said Chris Ouellette, a spokesperson for Xcel Energy. “The projects will help all Midwestern utilities ensure reliability when integrating the variable nature of renewable energy and increased resilience in the face of severe weather events.”

The work affecting Wisconsin represents roughly double the investment proposed for the state during the last round of transmission lines approved by MISO in 2011. That included what is now known as the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line. That project has been hotly contested, and it’s the final undertaking from that round still being built.

WEPCO and WPL coal-fired plants to run longer due to reliability and supply chain concerns

Posted June 23, 2022
Categories: Uncategorized

Given the amount of all the fossil fuel retirements in the region, plus the rising costs and supply chain issues, now is a good time to raise questions regarding the speed and cost of the massive utility capital spend in Wisconsin. We still need to address the problem of rate recovery for power plants that are about to be retired. The current total for all the unamortized balances in Wisconsin is over $2 billion. See more details in the articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal.

Rate cases pending, plus interruptions are more likely this year

Posted April 28, 2022
Categories: Uncategorized

WEPCO filed for a base rate case seeking an average 8.4% increase and industrial increases of 11-14% in 2023. WPSC filed for a rate case seeking an average 6.2% increase and industrial increases of 5-9%. MGE has a rate case limited reopener with an average proposed electric increase of 4.4%. In addition, rising natural gas prices and conditions in the regional market will have a significant impact on Wisconsin’s industries. WIEG is currently forming ad hoc intervention groups to mitigate the rate increases and advocate for favorable cost allocation and rate design for large customers.

Coalition efforts to block passage of monopoly construction legislation

Posted March 15, 2022
Categories: Uncategorized

WIEG helped build a coalition to defeat this anti-competition, anti-consumer legislation in the 2021-2022 session. Although the bills failed to advance out of committee, we need to keep this coalition together as utilities may try to revive the bill in 2023.

WIEG is currently negotiating three rate cases (WPL, NSPW and MGE)

Posted May 7, 2021
Categories: Uncategorized

MGE, Alliant seek electricity rate hikes for 2022 as tax savings exhausted.