State hears from public on proposed Lakeshore solar farm


    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)

    MADISON (WLUK) – The state Public Service Commission heard testimony Wednesday on plans for a solar farm in Manitowoc County, but a decision is likely a few months away.

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

    The two utilities want to spend $390 million on this facility and one in Iowa County. The larger Badger Hollow Solar Farm would generate about 300 megawatts annually.

    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)


    Wednesday’s hearing focused on the utilities plans’ to acquire and use the solar power, not on the actual development of the facilities. Third-party companies are developing the actual sites, noted Matt Cullen, spokesman for Wisconsin Public Service. Those sites also need separate state approval.

    All of the PSC’s decisions are tentatively slated to be completed by early June, according to PSC spokesman Matt Dannenberg.

    While the utilities have touted the green energy project, some landowners near the projects have raised concerns about what the solar arrays will look like.

    The utilities had planned to start construction in Manitowoc County later this year, with it completed in 2020 – but that timeline anticipated PSC approval last fall. Cullen Wednesday WPS still expects to start construction this year, but didn’t have specific dates.

    The solar power is intended to replace some of the capacity lost when the coal-fired Pulliam Power Plant in Green Bay was shut down. It would be WPS’ first industrial-scale solar facility, Cullen said.

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