Construction begins on large-scale solar facility
TWO CREEKS, Wis. — With a dig into the earth and a toss of dirt, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and officials from Wisconsin Public Service and Madison Gas and Electric took the initial steps recently to create the first large-scale solar facility in Wisconsin history.
“Wisconsinites deserve clean, reliable, affordable energy,” said Evers. “There is much work that can be done in Wisconsin to make sure we’re transitioning to a 21st century economy that both protects our natural resources and incentivizes energy innovation, however, thankfully, we have business leaders committed to paving the way. I want to congratulate Two Creeks Solar and all the folks involved for their work on this very important project.”
The Two Creeks Solar Park in Manitowoc County is empty fields today but after all the dirt is moved and construction is done, the land will host 500,000 solar panels across 800 acres. The 150-megawatt project will produce enough electricity to power more than 33,000 homes.
As joint owners, WPS will own 100 MW and MGE will own 50 MW of the output.
“This project is another important step in our ongoing effort to create a clean energy future that is affordable, safe and reliable,” said Tom Metcalfe, president – WPS. “We appreciate Gov. Evers support, and we will continue to work with our customers, industry partners, environmental groups, the community and state leaders as we reduce carbon emissions for decades to come.”
“This clean energy project builds on the progress we’ve already made increasing our renewable generation and reducing carbon emissions,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE chairman, president and CEO. “Growing our use of renewable resources is a key strategy for achieving our goal of net-zero carbon electricity by the year 2050. We share the vision of a cleaner energy future and look forward to working with Governor Evers and others to reach these shared energy goals.”
The Two Creeks Solar Park is being built in the town of Two Creeks and the city of Two Rivers, near the Point Beach Nuclear Plant. The project is being developed, built and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun and owner of the Point Beach Nuclear Plant.
“We are pleased to work with WPS and MGE as we start construction of Wisconsin’s largest solar energy center,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “This project will create good jobs and an economic boost for the local community during construction, and generate clean, renewable energy for years to come. We also hope it serves as a model for more projects like this in the state.”
The project will require 300 workers during construction, with three full-time personnel to operate the facility after it is placed in operation. Construction will ramp up this fall, and the project is expected online by the end of 2020.
WPS and MGE also are partnering on the 150-MW Badger Hollow I Solar Park in southwestern Wisconsin. That project is expected to break ground later this year.
Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is a utility subsidiary of WEC Energy Group Inc. .The company serves approximately 444,000 electric and 328,000 natural gas customers in northeastern and north central Wisconsin.
Madison Gas and Electric generates and distributes electricity to 153,000 customers in Dane County, Wisconsin, and purchases and distributes natural gas to 161,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE’s parent company is MGE Energy Inc. The company’s roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.