SBU Doubles its Wind Power with Cost-Effective New Resource

Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center Now Online 

When customers of Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) flip on a light switch or plug in a device, they now receive more than twice as much of their electricity from wind power. The additional renewable energy is generated at the new Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center.

“Not only are we adding more renewable energy to our power supply portfolio with Bishop Hill III,” said Jim Stawicki, General Manager, “we are doing so cost effectively.”

The utility’s wholesale power supplier, WPPI Energy, entered into a power purchase agreement with Invenergy last summer to buy electricity from the 132-megawatt facility located in Henry County, Illinois. SBU is a member-owner of WPPI Energy.

Construction on the Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center began in August 2017, and the facility started service in May of this year. To officially mark the opening of the Bishop Hill III facility, representatives from the WPPI Energy membership, Invenergy, elected officials and members of the local community gathered in Woodhull, Ill., on June 29 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We began looking a couple of years ago at whether new renewable resources could be a cost-effective addition to our power supply portfolio,” WPPI Energy President and CEO Mike Peters remarked during the event. “Of the dozens of proposals we received, Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center rose to the top as a project that is projected to lower our wholesale costs to WPPI Energy members over the long term.”

Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center

The project also delivers environmental benefits. Not only does Bishop Hill III more than double the WPPI Energy membership’s use of wind energy, but when combined with the addition of solar power from Point Beach Solar Energy Center, which is expected to come online in 2021, the project will also help SBU achieve a power supply portfolio that is:

  • Made up of more than 22 percent renewable energy
  • Nearly 40 percent emissions-free, and
  • Approximately 40 percent lower in carbon dioxide emissions compared to levels in 2005. 

WPPI Energy will purchase the electricity from Bishop Hill III through mid-2040 in order to serve its 51 member utilities across Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Iowa, including SBU. The agreement represents WPPI Energy’s largest renewable energy purchase to date.