WP&L Six Solar I Projects

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Final Decision Issued on Reopening​

On June 24, 2021,​ the Commission issued a final decision for this project. In February of 2023, the case was reopened to consider a request by the applicant to construct, own and operate​ the battery energy storage facilities proposed in the reopeners of dockets 9803-CE-100 and 9804-CE-100.​​

In August of 2023, the Commission issued a Final Decision on Reopening, thereby amending the original Order to include authorization to construct, own and operate the battery energy storage facilities.

Quarterly construction updates and post decision correspondence between the Commission and the Applicant can be found in the corresponding docket reports.

Docket Reports: 6680-CE-182
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Richland County (aka Bear Creek, Richland County), Crawfish River (Jefferson County), Grant County (Grant County), North Rock (Rock County), Onion River (Sheboygan County), and Wood County (Wood County)

Docket ID: 6680-CE-182

Application of Wisconsin Power and Light Company for a Certificate of Authority for Acquisition, Construction, Installation, and Operation of Six Solar Electric Generation Facilities in Wisconsin​.

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Application Summary

Overview: Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WP&L) filed an application with the Commission for a Certificate of Authority (CA) to construct three solar energy generation facilities, and an application for approval of affiliated interest agreements for three solar energy generation facilities that are seeking Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Commission. In total, WP&L is seeking authority to acquire, construct, own, and operate 675 MW of new solar energy generation facilities. The three sub-100 MW solar facilities that require a CA from the Commission are North Rock Solar (NRS) and Bear Creek Solar (BCS), both proposed at 50 MW, and Crawfish River Solar (CRS), proposed at 75 MW. The three solar projects that are subject to CPCN requirements and their res​pective CPCN docket numbers are Wood County Solar (9803-CE-100), Grant County Solar (9804-CE-100), and Onion River Solar (9805-CE-100).

Applicant stated need: WP&L states in the application that it conducted an analysis that shows there would be benefits to its customers if it increased its renewable energy generation and retired certain of its coal generation facilities. The application states that these projects are part of a larger program that would save customers money over the next 35 years compared to maintaining its current generation fleet.

Estimated cost: WP&L states that the estimated cost to acquire, construct, install, and place in operation the six proposed solar projects in this docket is approximately $887 million, calculated without Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC). This project cost includes an estimated $862 million in construction costs and an estimated $25 million in land purchase costs. Because WP&L intends to finance approximately 35 to 45 percent of the project's estimated construction costs with capital from a tax equity partner, WP&L requests authorization to include in rate base up to $585 million, plus AFUDC, subject to Commission review and audit in a future rate case proceeding.

Project Location: Crawfish River Solar project, located in the Town of Jefferson, just west of the City of Jefferson in Jefferson County. North Rock Solar project, located in the Town of Fulton, southwest of the City of Edgerton, in Rock County. Bear Creek Solar project, located in the Town of Buena Vista, near the Village of Lone Rock, in Richland County.

Proposed schedule: WP&L states for each of the solar CA projects that a site-specific construction specification and schedule would be developed but is not yet available. Dependent on regulatory schedules and approvals, the project schedule for CRS and BCS would tentatively have construction starting in summer of 2021. The construction schedule for NRS tentatively has construction starting in summer of 2022. Each of the CA projects is expected to take between 12 to 18 months to construct. The estimated project schedule would have the CRS and BCS projects placed in service in November of 2022, with NRS placed in service in November of 2023.

Statutory Review

Commission and DNR staff completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project that evaluated impacts of the five solar projects less than 100 Megawatts in size. It was posted to the docket February 8, 2021. The Commission opened this docket by its authority under Wis. Stat. ch. 196 as a Class ​1 proceeding as defined in Wis. Stat. § 227.01(3)(a). This docket seeks: A Certificate of Authority to own, operate, and construct the Solar Projects at the cost, and with the accounting measures, described in this Application under Wis. Stat. § 196.49. Approval under Wis. Stat. §§ 196.52 and 196.795(5)(s) for WPL to transfer an indirect ownership stake in the Solar Projects to a tax equity partner. Approval under Wis. Stat. §§ 196.52 and 196.795(5)(r) for WPL to enter into affiliated interest agreements related to the ownership and operation of the Solar Projects through a tax equity partnership.​

Key ​Application Documents