WEC Energy Group investing $412 million in 250-MW Sapphire Sky wind farm

Wisconsin-based utility holding company WEC Energy Group is taking a 90-percent ownership stake in an Illinois wind farm currently under development.

WEC Energy Group will take a majority interest in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center located in McLean County. The project will consist of 64 wind turbines with a combined capacity of about 250 MW.

Invenergy is developing Sapphire Sky, which is expected to go into commercial operation by the end of 2022.

The renewable energy which will be generated by the Illinois wind farm is supposed under a long-term power purchase agreement with an unnamed Fortune 100 tech firm, according to the WEC release. In 2018, news reports indicated that whole energy retailer Flow Power was going to purchase a portion of Sapphire’s capacity.

“The Sapphire Sky project is the latest step forward in our comprehensive plan to accelerate the development of affordable, reliable and clean energy. This project will help meet the energy needs of one of the largest high-tech companies in the world and continue to grow earnings from our portfolio of renewable assets,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman of WEC Energy Group.

The company’s investment will total $412 million for the 90-percent take. Once approved by regulators and closed, WEC’s Infrastructure segment will total eight projects with 1.5 GW of wind capacity overall.

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WEC Energy Group is based in Milwaukee and owns utilities providing power to 4.6 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. Its principal utilities include We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, Minnesota Energy Resources and Upper Michigan Energy Resources.

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