Only a month ago we were lauding the developers of the $10 billion Foxconn manufacturing campus under construction in Mount Pleasant for committing to a cutting-edge water recycling system.
That proposed system would reduce the demand for water from Lake Michigan to serve the campus by more than half, and would distill, recycle and recover manufacturing-process wastewater.
Foxconn officials cited it as an example of the company’s commitment to comply with water-treatment regulations and exceed them where possible.
Now, recent news reports suggest Foxconn may try to take the same path when it comes to energy needs for the giant manufacturing facility.
We Energies officials said they were in talks with Foxconn over its energy supply needs and that solar power may figure prominently in the campus’ needs.
“Everything is on the table, and we’re looking to how this best works for both parties,” Gale Klappa, chairman and CEO of WEC Energy Group, told a Milwaukee newspaper.
According to the news report, a solar installation at Foxconn could be the largest in Wisconsin, and could generate 60 to 90 times the current top facility, found at the new IKEA store in Oak Creek, which has 4,716 panels and generates 1.6 megawatts of electricity.
That would go a long way toward supplying the estimated 200 megawatts of electric demand the Foxconn campus is expected to need.
This is still just in the talking stages, but the talk is going in the right direction. In July, Wisconsin utilities said they were planning major investments in solar and wind projects in the coming years, and a sizeable solar component here in Mount Pleasant would fit nicely with that new direction.
Foxconn has faced criticism on its potential impact on Lake Michigan and other environmental issues. But from what we have seen in the past two months, the company is striking all the right notes when it comes to environmental responsibility and that’s good news for Wisconsin, which has always treasured its land, water and air resources.