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Wisconsin utility proposes large solar-plus-storage facility

February 17, 2021

Energy Storage News:

The U.S. state of Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar farm only went online in late 2020, but electric and gas delivery holding company WEC Energy Group has just proposed plans for a 310MW solar power plant with 110MW of battery storage.

The proposal for the Paris Solar-Battery Park in Kenosha County was filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin yesterday. If approved, construction would begin in 2022 for commissioning in 2023. WEC Energy Group, which serves around 4.6 million customers in four states, said that two of its utility subsidiaries, Wisconsin Public Service and We Energies, would own 90% of the project. Another smaller Wisconsin utility provider, Madison Gas & Electric (MGE), would own the remaining 10%.

Paris-Solar Battery Park is under development by Chicago-headquartered multinational solar, wind and gas project developer Invenergy. The company appears to have begun development in 2017 as Paris Solar Farm, when it was planned as a 200MW PV plant without any energy storage combined with it.

Expected megawatt-hour capacity figures for the battery portion of the plant were not revealed by WEC in a press release the company issued today, but it did say the battery storage system will be used to make solar-generated power dispatchable into the late afternoon and evening.

WEC plans to invest US$2 billion in new solar, wind and battery storage projects by 2025, which it said would create jobs and provide economic stimulus to Wisconsin if built there. The group wants to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutral generation by 2050.

According to local news sources, Wisconsin has around 130MW of rooftop solar on residential and commercial buildings. However, Two Creeks Solar Facility (150MW), the first large-scale solar PV plant was only inaugurated in the state in November last year, developed and built by NextEra Energy Resources, the development arm of integrated energy company NextEra. Local advocacy group RENEW Wisconsin said that Madison Gas & Electric also connected two smaller solar farms to the grid last year, with a combined capacity of 14MW.

[Andy Colthorpe]

More: Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar-plus-storage could pair 310MW of solar with 110MW battery system

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