Solar farm proposed for Lakeshore

This farm field seen June 5, 2018, in the Manitowoc County Town of Two Creeks is the site of a proposed solar energy farm. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

TOWN OF TWO CREEKS (WLUK) -- A project designed to harness the power of the sun is moving forward in Manitowoc County.

Wisconsin Public Service is teaming up with Madison Gas and Electric to operate two solar energy facilities, including one along the Lakeshore. The proposed site is located in the towns of Two Creeks and Two Rivers, just south of the Point Beach Nuclear Plant.

On a field of last season's corn, sits an area that could be filled with thousands and thousands of silver and blue panels similar to these, pointed toward the sky.

"As the sun shines, the panels collect the energy," said Wisconsin Public Service spokesman Matt Cullen. "It would go right out onto the electric grid and be provided to our customers."

Utility companies Madison Gas and Electric and WEC Energy Group, through its subsidiary, WPS, filed an application last week with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build a $390 million solar energy project on two sites in the state.

"This is our first aquisition of a solar generation facility of this scale," Cullen said.

The Two Creeks site would cover about 1,300 acres and is expected to generate 150 megawatts, which is enough to power about 41,250 homes a year. Wiscosin Public Service officials expect the solar energy facilities to last about 30 years, and over that time customers could save $100 million. And there's more.

"In combination with the retirement of less efficient older generation, it will actually result in a decline of about one percent for WPS customer bills in the first year of operation at both facilities," Cullen said.

The project is in its early stages. The chairman of the Town of Two Creeks says the proposal drew no opposition at the town's annual meeting in April. In the meantime, construction on the Two Creeks site is scheduled to begin in August 2019, with a completion date about a year later.

"We feel that this an excellent way to meet their needs, meet their demand especially during those summer times of peak demand," Cullen said.

The second facility, the Badger Hollow Solar Farm, will be located in southwestern Wisconsin west of Dodgeville.

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