Profits rise as utilities invest in clean energy

The financial performance of Wisconsin’s investor-owned utilities have proved a sustainable point — investments in clean energy can drive profits.

According to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, energy utilities serving Wisconsin are seeing strong earnings after making investments in alternative forms of energy, and that is prompting additional investment in clean power.

Alliant Energy, which recently announced plans to spend another $7 million in clean energy projects, is a prime example. Last week, Alliant announced a 7 percent increase in its 2020 dividends after reporting earnings of $226 million in the third quarter of 2019. That represents a 10 percent increase over the same quarter in 2018.

Meanwhile, after the completion of its $112 million Saratoga Wind Farm, Madison Gas and Electric reported earnings of $30.7 million, up 4 percent from the same period in 2018.

More alternative energy generation is on the way for MGE, which expects to complete the Badger Hollow and Two Creeks solar farms in 2020. In addition, the Madison-based utility plans more solar generation in Middleton and Fitchburg.

Despite July storms that damaged parts of its distribution network, WEC Energy Group reported third quarter earnings of $234.3 million an increase of 0.5 percent over the same period last year. WEC Energy Group is the parent company of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service of Green Bay.

In addition, Minnesota-based Xcel Energy, which serves roughly 250,000 customers in western Wisconsin, has reported third-quarter earnings of $527 million, up 7 percent over 2018. Xcel plans to spend $22 billion on cleaner energy over the next five years, including the replacement of fossil-fuel generators with natural gas and renewable energy sources.

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MGE breaks ground on Middleton solar farm, Fitchburg could be next