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July 28, 2021

WEC Energy to acquire 90% stake in Sapphire Sky Wind energy project

WEC’s infrastructure division has planned investments in eight major wind farms with more than 1.5GW of total capacity.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

US-based energy company WEC Energy Group has agreed to purchase a 90% stake in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Centre in Illinois for a $412m total consideration.

Located in McLean County, the wind farm is being built by sustainable energy solutions developer Invenergy.

The project, featuring 64 wind turbines, will have a combined capacity of 250MW and is expected to begin commercial operations by the end of next year.

The clean energy generated by the facility will be sold to an unnamed Fortune 100 global high-tech company under a long-term power purchase agreement.

As well as the Sapphire Sky project, WEC’s infrastructure division has planned investments in seven other major wind farms. These wind farms have a collective capacity of more than 1.5GW.

WEC Energy Group executive chairman Gale Klappa said: “The Sapphire Sky project is the latest step forward in our comprehensive plan to accelerate the development of affordable, reliable and clean energy.

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“This project will help meet the energy needs of one of the world’s largest high-tech companies and continue to grow earnings from our portfolio of renewable assets.”

The completion of the deal is subject to necessary regulatory approvals.

In March, WEC Energy Group agreed to acquire a 90% stake in the Jayhawk Wind Farm in Bourbon and Crawford counties, Kansas, for $302m. Invenergy agreed to operate the wind farm after acquiring the remaining 10% interest.

Apex Clean Energy has started the wind farm’s development and aims to bring it online by the end of this year.

The site, featuring 70 GE wind turbines, will have a combined generation capacity of more than 190MW.

In May, WEC Energy subsidiaries We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) offered to acquire the 465MW Koshkonong Solar Energy Centre in south-central Wisconsin.

The energy centre will feature 300MW of solar generation and 165MW of battery storage capacity, which will store solar-generated power.

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