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WEC Energy Buys 80% Ownership Interest of a 97MW Wind Farm


WEC Energy Group, Inc. WEC announced that it has acquired 80% ownership of Coyote Ridge Wind Farm. The site comprises 39 GE wind turbines and has capacity of 97 megawatts (MW). The deal values $145 million and the company will have all tax benefits along with 80% ownership interest.

The under construction project is located in Brookings County, South Dakota and expected to be in service by the end of 2019. AVANGRID, Inc.’s AGR subsidiary — Avangrid Renewables — will operate the wind farm. Moreover, Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL subsidiary — Google Energy — LLC will utilize the 100% energy produced by the farm through a long-term offtake agreement.

Other Wind Projects

WEC Energy is a diversified holding company and operates wind generating facility in Illinois through Bishop Hill III.

On Aug 31, 2018, the company completed the acquisition of an 80% membership interest of Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center located in Henry County, Illinois, with a capacity of 132 MW for $143.5 million. . On October 19, 2018, the company signed an agreement to acquire an additional 10% membership interest in Bishop Hill III.

On April 2018, WPS, along with two other unaffiliated utilities, WEC Energy completed the purchase of Forward Wind Energy Center, which consists of 86 wind turbines located in Wisconsin, with a total capacity of 129 MW. On Apr 30, 2018, the company signed an agreement for the acquisition of an 80% membership interest in Upstream Wind Energy Center with generation of 202.5 MW for $276.0 million. These acquisitions are expected to boost earnings.

Increasing Renewable Focus

Till 2017, WEC Energy was using renewable sources for producing 3% of its total capacity. The company plans to invest $1 billion through 2019-2023 for the generation of renewables.

In the past few years, the U.S. renewable energy industry has witnessed significant growth. Awareness toward lower pollution level boosted the usage of renewable energy sources. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing forms of power generation in the United States.

Energy Information Administration (EIA), expects that consumption of electricity generated from wind in the United States will increase 11% to 2.897 quadrillion Btu in 2019 from 2018 levels.

Price Movement

In the past 12 months, shares of WEC Energy have gained 7.8% compared with the industry's rise of 1.6%.

Zacks Rank and Key Pick

Currently, WEC Energy has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

A better-ranked stock from the same industry is Ameren Corporation AEE that sports a Zacks Rank #1

Long-term earnings growth of Ameren is pegged at 6.80%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings inched up 0.3% in the past 90 days.

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