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Excel Energy: Wisconsin Hydro Operations Set Generation Record
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/17/2017

Xcel Energy has announced that its 19 hydro operations in Wisconsin has generated almost 1.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity during the past year, breaking the previous record of just over 1.1 million MWhs set in 1996. The company says this record translates to an average hourly production of 137 megawatts, which served the electric needs of approximately 137,000 homes continuously for the year.

"Wind and solar draw a lot of attention when it comes to renewable energy options, but hydro remains a viable part of Xcel Energy's clean energy mix," said Excel Senior Manager Scott Crotty. "Over the last several years, we have invested in our plants by upgrading some of the older units to increase capacity and efficiency and to keep them as a part of our generation fleet for years to come."

In total, generating capacity from those improvements increased output by about 8.5 MWs. The upgrades along with above-average precipitation in 2016 contributed to the generation record.

"The heavy rains in July presented significant challenges for our hydro plant operators and maintenance staff, but they kept the plants running safely and prevented any operational issues from occurring," Crotty added.

Many of the utility's hydro facilities have been fixtures on the region's rivers for more than a century. And this year marks the 100th anniversary of Lake Wissota, which was created from the Wissota Hydro.

Crotty says during a typical year, hydroelectric power--including both owned and purchased power--makes up about seven percent of the power Xcel Energy provides to its customers in Wisconsin and other neighboring states.

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