A WEC Energy Group subsidiary has received complaints from residents of Ixonia, Wisconsin, where the utility is proposing a $185 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. 

We Energies Inc. initially filed an application requesting a certificate to install two LNG peaking facilities in southeastern Wisconsin last November. The Ixonia facility, which could occupy 25 acres of a 165-acre site, has been met with criticism from the town of Ixonia. 

Residents who oppose the proposed facility created an online petition that has gathered nearly 1,100 signatures. Additionally, a website was created for Ixonia residents to voice their concerns about the proposed facility. 

The opposition said the LNG facility would pose a danger for explosions or vapor cloud leaks, especially for the local elementary school that sits less than a mile from the proposed site of the facility. Residents also fear a decrease in property values with the “unsightly” 150-foot storage tank. 

“We are used to safety, and we have an incredible safety record,” said WEC’s Brendan Conway. “We’ve operated similar facilities for over 50 years and never had an incident.” He said, “There is no history of (We Energies) putting in facilities and the property (values) going down. It is almost always the opposite.”

The Ixonia Town Board is set to meet on Sept. 14. If We Energies receives local approval and approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PCSW), construction could start next spring with a service date of late 2023.  

The project is planned for a site where it will store 1 Bcf. The site would also include pre-treatment and liquefaction equipment, as well as vaporization equipment. 

“The project is needed to enhance the reliability of natural gas supply throughout southeastern Wisconsin, provide significant customer savings and allow greater independence from interstate pipelines,” WEC management said in a letter. The town of Ixonia would receive an annual payment of $555,000 from shared revenue, and Jefferson County, WI, would receive $1.1 million annually. 

In addition to the Ixonia LNG facility, We Energies has also proposed an LNG facility for Bluff Creek, WI, to store 1 Bcf of LNG and include the same equipment as the Ixonia facility. This project has received local approval from the LaGrange Town Board and the Walworth County, IL, Zoning Agency. We Energies expects to begin construction for the facility next spring as well. 

In a letter to the PCSW, We Energies said the proposed facilities could provide “new infrastructure in order to increase firm deliverability of natural gas to their distribution systems and maintain reliable service to their customers, particularly during periods of peak natural gas demand (normally, the coldest days of the winter).”