WEC Energy Group proposed plans to build a 310-megawatt solar and battery storage project in Kenosha County.
If approved, the Paris Solar-Battery Park would be the biggest of its kind in the state. This park is part of the company’s plan to invest $2 billion in renewable energy by 2025, according to the WEC press release.
La Follette School of Public Affairs professor Gregory Nemet said in an email to The Badger Herald that WEC Energy Group has not announced a price, but it’s in the order of $200 million.
The project would have 200-megawatts of solar generation. That would be enough to power 60,000 homes while also utilizing its 110-megawatt battery in order to continue to provide power when the sun goes down, according to WEC.
Nemet said the important part of the project is the battery, not the solar power and that the battery is indicative of Wisconsin’s transition to a low carbon economy.
“It’s important for utilities, companies and workers in the state to develop experience in working with battery and solar, so this first large battery is an important step,” Nemet said. “It will help make the next battery project easier and cheaper.”
Wisconsin has already started two other large-scale solar projects with dozens of others in the queue, according to Nemet.
Nemet said he believes the project will save Wisconsin residents money in the long run — almost all of the costs are upfront, and there will not be any fuel or pollution costs further down the line.
“It’s part of the overall strategy to move away from coal and gas to low carbon energy,” Nemet said. “There is only one large coal power plant in Wisconsin that isn’t scheduled to close in the next few years. Solar, batteries and wind will help fill that gap as coal plants leave the system.”
According to WEC, if the plans are approved, the Paris Solar-Battery Park would be expected to go into construction in 2022 and become operational in 2023.