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As the wholesale power supplier for our 51 member utilities, WPPI Energy is accountable to the communities they serve. It is my responsibility to report on how our joint action agency is faring.
It’s an extraordinary time for WPPI Energy as our member utilities continue to power on for their communities. The ways we produce and use energy are changing, and WPPI member utilities are helping lead the transition. This month we mark the first anniversary of our newest power supply resource: the Point Beach Solar Energy Center. WPPI aims to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions 100% by 2050, and this cost-effective, carbon-free addition further diversifies our portfolio.
We’re always looking ahead, and that means ensuring that the changes to come make sense for our communities. We know that achieving a zero-carbon future requires balancing three priorities: reliability, affordability, and sustainability.
We also know that large-scale facilities like Point Beach Solar provide affordable, accessible renewable options for all customers. So, we counted it as a win recently when federal measures that we fought for became law that will equitably lower the cost to invest in these projects for our communities.
With costs on the rise for almost everything, there’s no question that affordability is crucial. This summer, soaring natural gas prices drove up electric costs for customers nationwide, including our member communities. Fortunately, WPPI’s responsive financial structure and member-governed business model enabled our Executive Committee to take meaningful action that mitigated a portion of the impact on wholesale power bills for member utilities and their customers.
WPPI also delivers long-term savings for members by issuing bonds to affordably finance our projects. In May, we locked in a lower interest rate to refund 112 million dollars in outstanding bonds. This action will reduce WPPI wholesale costs to members for the next 15 years.
Of course, costs aren’t all customers care about. As technology evolves, consumer expectations are also changing. WPPI members are ready with modern, shared business technologies and forward-thinking programs to continue leading the way in meeting customers’ expectations.
Not only are these offerings unparalleled among organizations like ours, but they also make a meaningful difference in our communities. As part of our ongoing electric vehicle efforts, a member collaboration is underway to help ensure that planners of smaller utility systems will be ready to reliably serve this growing demand. And, recently, we helped several WPPI member communities evaluate emerging options like solar-to-battery technology to help strengthen resiliency for utility customers providing local emergency response and other essential services.
The not-for-profit utilities that make up WPPI were created for the benefit of those they serve, and they provide significant value for local customers and their communities. WPPI’s purpose is to help preserve and enhance that value, now and for the long term. This is a commitment on which we will continue to deliver.
The state of our joint action agency is strong and, together, WPPI members will continue to lead and thrive through changing times.
The 2022 State of WPPI video can be viewed online at wppienergy.org/2022-state-of-wppi-video.