WEC Energy Group Inc

InfluenceMap Score
D-
Performance Band
45%
Organisation Score
42%
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Milwaukee, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: WEC Energy Group appears to have limited engagement with climate change policy. The company seems to broadly support the electrification of the transportation sector but has not taken a clear position on renewable energy policies such as renewable portfolio standards. WEC leadership has made several statements in favor of preserving the role of fossil fuels, especially natural gas, in the US energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: WEC has limited top-line messaging on climate policy. While the company uses IPCC pathways and the Paris Agreement in its 2021 Climate Report as benchmarks for its own operational plans and emissions reductions targets, it does not clearly advocate in favor of government policy to deliver IPCC demanded economy-wide emissions reductions or the Paris Agreement. WEC also does not appear to explicitly support the need for government regulation to respond to climate change, only acknowledging the risk of regulation to its business in the “Risks and Opportunities” section of its 2021 Climate Report.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: WEC appears to have limited and mixed engagement with climate-related legislation and regulation. In its 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report, WEC states that it is monitoring specific bills on microgrids, net metering, and alternative energy systems, among others, without providing details on whether it supports or opposes them. As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal in 2021, WEC subsidiary We Energies has been advocating before the Public Service Commission since 2018 to block a third-party from entering a lease agreement with Milwaukee to build distributed solar in favor of its own rooftop solar program. InfluenceMap found little further recent evidence of WEC’s engagement with GHG regulations. Previously, in 2018, WEC submitted comments to the EPA on the proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule that appear to advocate in favor of natural gas, calling either for the rule to apply only to coal-fueled generating units or, alternatively, exemptions for coal-fueled units that were refueled to natural gas prior to September 2018.

Positioning on Energy Transition: WEC appears to take a mostly negative position on the energy transition. On a February 2021 earnings call, Gale Klappa, the current Executive Chairman and former CEO of WEC, underscored the importance of continuing a “diverse fuel mix,” especially natural gas, in colder climates. On that same call, he appeared to support state laws that prevent bans on natural gas. In a 2019 earnings call, CEO Kevin Fletcher similarly emphasized the importance of maintaining a fossil fuel energy portfolio, including coal and gas, in cold weather events such as the polar vortex. These statements appear to be at odds with WEC’s response to the most recent CDP Climate Change Information requests, in which the company states support for clean energy generation.

WEC Executive Chairman Gale Klappa suggested in a 2020 earnings call that the transportation sector should be the focus of decarbonization rather than the power sector. In 2019, the company submitted a response to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission docket on electric vehicle policy, appearing to support electric vehicle policies as long as they do not harm the utility franchise. The utility's state lobbying filings show engagement with both legislative matters and rules related to electric vehicle charging methods and infrastructure programs in 2020, though its positions and aims of this engagement are unclear.

Industry Association Governance: WEC provides a list of industry associations to which it pays membership dues without providing details on the climate positions of these associations or its engagement with them on climate policy. WEC has not published a review of its alignment with its industry associations on climate change. In its 2020 CDP response, WEC discloses its membership in the American Gas Association, which maintains a broadly negative stance toward climate policy, as well as the Edison Electric Institute which demonstrates mixed engagement, and states its position on climate change as consistent with both groups with no further details on how it is attempting to influence them.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
NS 1 NA NS NS NS 0
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
0 0 NA NS NS NS NS
Supporting the Need for Regulations
0 NS NA NS NS NS 0
Support of UN Climate Process
0 NS NA NS 0 0 NS
Transparency on Legislation
1 NA 0 NA NA NA NS
Carbon Tax
NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
Emissions Trading
NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
Energy and Resource Efficiency
NS NS 1 -2 NS NS NS
Renewable Energy
0 NS NS -2 -2 1 NS
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 NS 1 0 1 -1 NS
GHG Emission Regulation
0 NS NS -2 NS 0 0
Disclosure on Relationships
0 NS 1 NA NA NA NS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
35%
 
35%
 
52%
 
52%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.