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History of WEC Energy Group

The WEC Energy Group is the largest supplier of electrical and natural gas in the United States, with operational scale, efficiency, and financial resources to meet the energy needs of the region. The company was founded in 1981 by Kevin Fletcher. WEC Energy Group was formed in 2015 but had a parent company with a history of more than a century (See in Appendix 1).

It is a public holding organization. It produces and distributes thermal energy and electricity and supplies natural gas. This organization generates power using different sources such as natural gas, coal, biomass, oil, solar, hydro, and wind. The company owns, operates, maintains, and monitors electrical transmission systems. It has production facilities and leases those to group entities. Furthermore, it provides its sister organization with hub services and natural gas storage. It also has an underground natural gas storage facility. It also serves commercial, residential, government, and community customers in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (WEC Energy Group, 2021).

The company serves more than 4.5 million consumers in the United States. The company runs its business through several divisions, including electric transmission, non-utility energy infrastructure, corporate, electric transmission, etc. However, the electric transmission sector is not profitable. The capital expenditure of WEC in FY2021 was approximately US$2,252.8 million, which increased YoY 14% more than FY2020 (WEC, 2022).

The business model of WEC Energy Group is natural gas delivery and electric distribution and generation in the United States, with financial resources and operational expertise to meet the energy needs of the Midwest responsibly, safely, and reliably. Its subsidiary focuses on shareholder value, reliable service, and customer satisfaction. In addition, the company serves fuel to over 4.6 million clients in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. The collective resources enable the operating efficiency of 51,400 miles of natural gas transmission and distribution lines, 7,700 megawatts of consistent power capacity, and 71,000 miles of electric distribution lines. The company is also committed to providing the best customer service and world-class reliability anywhere. In other words, consumers are at the heart of the business. Hence, WEC works consistently to support the community by providing primary energy services. As a Fortune 500 corporation, the company constantly develops and respects its staff, creating a difference in its important missions (Eia, 2021).

Industry Analysis

The electric power industry is the American economy's backbone, which produces the energy that empowers its businesses and people in world trade. It is one of the most affordable, reliable, and increasingly clean electrical systems in the United States. Still, it faces substantial susceptibilities in the face of the physical threat from terrorist attacks, cyber threats, and severe weather. The widespread transition to data-driven, smart technology aims to enhance the efficiency of the power grid and participate in the role of customer reliability. However, it has been presented at an unprecedented rate compared to industry history, as well as injects uncertainty into traditional regulatory structures, utility business models, and grid operations, which have been successful for the last half-century (Simply Wall St, 2021).

Services Provided by WEC Energy Group

Many forces affect the industry that WEC Energy Group competes in technological, socio-cultural, technological, economic, and political-legal. The economic force is renewable energy which dominates the energy industry by emphasizing the reduction of greenhouse gases and decreasing overall production costs. The positive economic development generates more employment and higher revenue in exports. Also, the development in clean energy technology has expanded the industry and, at the same time, has had a positive impact on the economy. Additionally, renewable energy technologies directly affect “green” job creation and employment growth (IEA, 2021).

The transition from decarbonization and fossil fuels to renewable energy has become a political struggle. This efficiently puts pressure on the industry and makes it tough to move forward because of investment and political differences. Additionally, concerns about restructuring the distribution of power will affect the reserves of power and other kinds of political supremacy. On the other hand, current socio-cultural barriers in the energy sector have affected renewable energy creation. The lifestyle change, perceptions, and norm culture reduce or limit renewable energy production.

By 2021, the net electricity generation from the utility-scale generators in the U.S. was estimated at 4.116 billion kWh (kilowatt-hours) (or around 4.12 trillion kWh). In this regard, EIA forecasts that an additional 49.03 billion kWh (or approximately 0.05 trillion kWh) has been created using small-scale solar photovoltaic (P.V.) systems. The mix of energy sources for electricity generation within the United States is constantly changing, especially in recent years. Renewable energy and natural gas sources are responsible for the increase in U.S. electricity generation, where coal-fired power generation has reduced (WEC, 2022).

The company uses various technologies and energy sources to produce electricity. Technologies and sources have changed over time. In addition, the three main types of energy for generating electricity include fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, and natural gas), nuclear energy, and renewable energy sources. Electricity is produced mainly by steam turbines using biomass, geothermal, fossil fuels, solar thermal, and biomass energy. In addition, other foremost power generation technologies include hydro turbines, gas turbines, solar photovoltaics, and wind turbines. By 2021, almost 61% of U.S. utility-scale power generation was generated from fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, and natural gas), approximately 20% from renewable energy sources, and approximately 19% from nuclear power (Eia, 2022).

 Electricity generation by significant sources in the U.S.

Fig: Electricity generation by significant sources in the U.S.

Fig: Eia 2021

Natural gas is the largest source - by 2021 the United States will produce about 38% of electricity. Natural gas is used to generate electricity using gas turbines and steam turbines. Coal is the second largest source of energy for electricity production in the United States by 2021 - about 22%. Steam turbine is used in almost all coal-fired power plants. Also, some coal-fired power plants transformed coal into gas for use in gas turbines for electricity production. Petroleum is the source of below 1% of electricity production in the United States by 2021. The petroleum coke and residential fuel oil are used in steam turbines. Diesel or distillate fuel oil is used in the diesel engine generator. Moreover, distillate and residual fuel oil can be burned in gas turbines (WEC, 2022).

Business Model of WEC Energy Group

With an established market position, the following companies dominate the energy industry in the United States.

Company

Revenue

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Private

Revenue: $20.9B

No. of employees: 45,000

Duke Energy Corporation

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $25.1B

No. of employees: 27,535

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $20.6B

No. of employees: 24,000

DTE Energy Co

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $15.0B

No. of employees: 10,300

Edison International

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $14.9B

No. of employees: 13,003

Consolidated Edison Inc

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $13.7B

No. of employees: 13,871

WEC Energy Group

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Private

Revenue: $8.316B

No. of employees: 7,273

Alliant Energy Corporation

Location: United States of America

Entity type: Public

Revenue: $0.927B

No. of employees: 4,000

Strengths and Weaknesses of WEC Energy Group

Strengths

High level of Customer Satisfaction

The organization positions are as high in customer satisfaction for services offered through all types of electricity generation.

Company acquisitions

WEC Energy Group acquired competitors to expand its market. The company acquired a 90% ownership interest in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center in 2021. In addition, it acquired Integrys Energy Group in 2014for $9.1B. The company has been acquired in three states in the United States. The portfolio of natural gas resources significantly expands the company's footprint in some Western and Eastern countries and worldwide, increasing diversity and market reach. Additionally, it has accumulated experience in developing successful and new markets. The expansion would assist the company in generating new sources of revenue and differentiate business cycle risks in the marketplaces where it operates (IEA, 2021).

Market Strategy

The company manages and reinvests its existing assets and businesses when investing in internal growth prospects and acquiring organizations that are additive to its business. The company planned the largest five-year capital plan, including new investments in battery storage, wind, solar, and natural gas production. This is anticipated to reduce emissions while sustaining consistency and distributing savings for consumers. By 2020, it was known as one of the most responsible organizations in the U.S. The focus of the WEC Energy Group is to invest in cost-effective renewables during the improvement of its natural gas distribution system and the retirement of less effective fossil fuel units (Pezzutto et al., 2018).

Established market position

The company is accountable for generating electricity and distributing natural gas in the United States. Its strengths include improved performance of Wisconsin business lines and substantial operational abilities. In four states, the company supplies natural gas and electricity to 4.4 million consumers (Fan et al., 2020).

Weaknesses

Debt

WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) carries a huge debt. As of June 2021, WEC Energy Group's debt was about $14.5 billion, increasing from $12.8 billion a year. The company has a high debt with an EBITDA ratio of 5.1, which indicates an expressive debt load. Yet, its interest coverage of 3.7 is comparatively strong, which is a good sign. Hence, the EBIT of the company has increased by 6.3% in the previous year, with debt slowly shrinking compared to earnings (WEC, 2022).

Investment in New Technology

By investing in renewable energy organizations, WEC Energy Group has looked at the factors that affect its business performance. Furthermore, financial obligations and new policies are attributed to the slow integration of renewable energy.

Product Range

Various products provided by WEC Energy Group can be devastating to manage. This organization focuses on electricity generation using energy from coal. It cannot develop as several resources as it could. The company remains focused on coal and natural as one of the key sectors. This would not support the organization to maintain and sustain its reputation in the long run (Quiceno et al., 2019).

Firm Integration

There has been a high turnover rate of CEO in the WEC. Furthermore, there has been a high rate among the workforce throughout each subsidiary organization. Therefore, it indicates that a higher number of employees need development training.

Strategic Group(s)

Some of the existing strategic groups include Arcadia Power which has partnered with different organizations to ensure the use of clean energy. Arcadia Power has partnered with Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), Think Energy, and American Wind Energy Association (ANWEA). It has allowed Arcadia Power to gain a competitive benefit over its competitors. Thus, the organization can stay to maintain market share and expand its consumer base with a variety of products. These strategic partners have been confirmed to be effective for the success of core business objectives and goals for their organizations. The competition between the strategic groups is highly intense and nearly the same as groups that provide clean and cheap energy to their consumers and ensure they implement the latest technology to generate and distribute electricity (Godoy-Gonzalez, Gil & Gutierrez-Alcaraz, 2020).

Porter’s Five Forces

Intensity of rivalry among existing competitors

Major industries are concentrated around the world. This led to fierce competition between the corporations. The sector is largely controlled by U.S. companies, including Duke Energy Corporation, Edison International, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co, WEC Energy Group, Pacific Gas and Electric, etc. Mainstream organizations are relatively similar in power, size, and strength. WEC Energy Group posted annual revenue of $8.316B in 2021. Duke Energy Corporation posted yearly revenue of $25.1B in 2021, while Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Pacific Gas and Electric Company posted revenue of $20.9B and $20.6B in 2021. There is intense competition in seeing all these aspects and considering global companies in the midstream natural gas industry. The competition among existing players is important for identifying the profitability of the industry. At present, WEC Energy Group has considerable dominance over its rivals in all areas and allows the organization to make sustainable profits (Song, Wang & Zhu, 2018).

Threats of new entrants in the industry

The energy sector is very regulated. Government agencies and the government control the industry. Companies need to have a strong fundraising capacity to enter this industry, which becomes somewhat complicated if there are high resources and high sinking costs. Investors will not receive returns due to the accessibility of other resources and declining demand for fossil fuels. Global demand for natural gas will remain on a plateau by the end of the 2030s and may start to fall. The industry is already saturated and facing high competition. Therefore, the risk of newcomers entering the electric utility industry is low. It forced the organization to make huge profits due to its dominance in the industry and the minor threat posed by the newcomers (Daim et al., 2018).

Threats to substitute products or services

The mid-flow industry is under intense pressure to minimize its carbon emissions. The energy industry is the mainstay of fossil fuel products. Additionally, climate activists are forcing organizations to shut down the project as there is a higher threat of emissions and damage to the earth. Then again, it gives the efficient option for transporting goods only from internally restricted coal and gas fields. Barrage, railways, and trucks are the only solutions available on this scale. Unfortunately, all of these solutions create many threats to humans and climates (Wang, Bi & Zhang, 2018).

Forces Affecting the Energy Industry: Technological, Socio-Cultural, Economic, and Political-Legal

On the other hand, the U.S. government has entitled for the nation to attain a 100% carbon-polluting free electricity by 2035. Therefore, the threat of alternative services or products in the American electric utility segment is high because the world is adopting clean and cheaper energy. As a result, WEC Energy Group should create a strategy for survival in the future while consumers will move toward more affordable and clean energy (Pavi? et al., 2017).

Bargaining power of consumers

Consumers can significantly influence the selling decisions and products of an organization. The most important thing consumers can use is to reduce prices, which affects profitability. In this industry, consumers have high bargaining power. Hence, organizations like WEC Energy Group assure that they offer the best rates to their consumers and provide value for money because of their high bargaining power. Additionally, the energy sector has a complex supply chain, such as transporter, manufacturers, and marketing organizations. Major consumers of electricity and natural gas are commercial, residential, government and community consumers. Its main activities include storage, distribution, and processing of natural gas and electricity. The company is responsible for the construction and development of infrastructure. It reduces transportation costs and gives security and safety (Bahrami et al., 2017).

Bargaining power of suppliers

The main suppliers of the energy industry are raw materials and equipment suppliers. The electricity generation and natural gas distribution equipment are directly connected to product quality, and it can cost millions of dollars in losses due to malfunction. The market is centralized. However, there aren't many suppliers who can supply sophisticated products. Product quality can affect the industry directly. The end product is the pillar of the world economy. Customers are also limited, so both are dependent on each other in this case. The industry plays a vital role in electricity and natural gas exploration, and there is no other solution (Hill et al., 2021). Suppliers have medium to high bargaining power within the mid-stream industry. Therefore, the bargaining power of suppliers in electrical utilities is key because if suppliers have strong bargaining power, they will inevitably force WEC Energy Group to pay more for the products or services delivered to the organization. It can cause the organization and other organizations to fail to sustain the above-average profits in this industry (Xiao, do Prado & Qiao, 2021).

Potential Profitability of the Industry

The growth of renewable energy will accelerate in 2022, as concerns over climate change and support for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) consideration. In addition, the demand for clean energy source from the general market segment is accelerating. Although organizations will still generate fossil fuels by 2040, renewable energy can account for about 70% of the energy mix in the world. In contrast, almost 80% less carbon would be discharged. As a result, until 2040, global energy demand will increase by around 28% (Song & Amelin, 2017).

Furthermore, the global energy industry is advancing and requires to restore its cost and productivity to generate its assets economically. As the energy landscape changes, the requirement for productivity improvement will remain to grow to keep moving on the cost curve. There will only be demand for low-cost gas when the demand goes to the top.

Electricity Generation in the US

All at once, the approach of the U.S. government to completely decarbonizing the American economy is aiding spur activity within the renewable segment that may drive more growth - especially if the proposed legislation is conceded. For example, the government claims that the nation will reach 100% carbon-polluting free electricity by 2035. The U.S. government made several strategies to achieve this goal, including expanding the use of heat pumps, power plants retrofitted with carbon capture, and investing in new sources of hydrogen – generated from nuclear energy, waste, or renewable energy – for the industrial power facilities (Dang et al., 2019).

 Electricity generation by sources in the U.S.

Figure: Electricity generation by sources in the U.S.

Source: EIA, 2022

The yearly share of American power generation from the renewable energy source is expected to increase from 20% in 2021 to 22% in 2022 and 23% in 2023 due to the ongoing increase in wind and solar generating capacity. Furthermore, increases in renewable production cause a decline in natural gas production, which downsized from a 37% share in 2021 to 35% in 2022 and 2023. In addition, natural gas production is likely to fall, while the cost of natural gas for electricity production will drop from $5.85/MMBtu in 2Q22 to an annual average of $4.21/MMBtu in 2023 (EIA, 2022). While the new natural gas-fired power generation units are expected to go online in 2022, they are expected to run at a lower utilization rate compared to recent years. Also, increasing renewable generation contributes to the forecast that the share of energy production from coal will fall from 23% in 2021 and 2022 to 21% in 2023. The retirement of coal-fired production capacity in 2022 will majorly contribute to the declining share of coal production next year. Nuclear production is relatively stable in the forecast, with an average share of 20%. While one nuclear reactor will be retired in 2022, the loss will be balanced by opening a new 1.1-gigawatt reactor by the end of 2022. This will become the first new nuclear reactor to launch in the U.S. since 2016 (EIA, 2022).

 Renewable energy supply in the U.S.

Figure: Renewable energy supply in the U.S.

Source: EIA, 2022

WEC Energy Group is committed to clean energy and identifies emissions reduction as an important part of its policy. The company intends to minimize the emission of carbon dioxide by 60% by 2025, as well as 80% by 2030 and build the carbon-neutral electric generation fleet by 2050. Additionally, the company will want to reach net-zero methane emissions from the natural gas distribution system by 2030. Along with the uncertainties, there are many opportunities for WEC Energy to improve the new energy landscape and expand its abilities, the most efficient network operators and planners by allowing consumers to select new energy sources. Hopefully, this will aid in minimizing emissions in the transport sector by giving clean fuel. When the company is at the forefront of the system, WEC Energy will stimulate the development of energy storage markets. The company needs to move forward to build a better Wisconsin through its joint projects (Domínguez-Garabitos et al., 2022).

Types of Energy Sources for Electricity Generation

Industry-level

Operational efficiency in view of the new trends in the American energy sector, operational efficiency of running the plant, and the ability to execute projects on time are the important aspects of the success required for organizations operating in this industry. The success of WEC Energy Group is associated with the regulatory environment in which utilities operate in the United States. The core of the model is that utilities have exclusive rights to provide services in a limited region. In return, the company has limited its returns on capital spending as a way for regulators to ensure that the price is affordable for consumers of utility. The restriction on price means that the finest way to increase revenue for a utility is to expand its controlled asset base.

Fuel security

In order to increase the electricity demand and sustain the uninterrupted supply, the power sector organization requires fuel. Thus, the issue of energy security plays a crucial role for an organization within the U.S. energy sector. The company can achieve this by signing a contract or acquiring coal mines. In this case, WEC Energy Group is going for a foreign acquisition or entering into agreements with coal organizations to maintain an uninterrupted supply of fuel. The organization has a fuel supply agreement and long-term coal connection that allows it to continue production and implement expansion plans. Then again, it also benefits from maintaining cost efficiency because the organization without fuel would not be able to run the production process, which increases the cost-efficiency by purchasing coal from alternative sources. However, inadequate fuel supply reduces the productivity of plants, resulting in losses in the form of opportunity costs. Thus, fuel security is measured as a significant success factor for the company in this industry (Domínguez-Garabitos et al., 2022).

Firm-level: Human capital

As a result of the entry of private players and power sector reforms, the power sector company is experiencing a shortage of quality labor, which increases the costs and risks associated with electricity generation. In these circumstances, WEC Energy Group has an enviable position in the industry with highly experienced and skilled human capital conversant in power generation and project execution. WEC Energy is the largest power plant, distributor, and natural gas supplier across the country. It employs about 7,000 people in service subsidiaries and energy organizations Kaller, Bielen & Marneffe, 2018).

At this time, the newcomers need to create a talent pool in the industry, which is a time-consuming process. However, since WEC has been operating without much competition for almost 40 years, it has acquired the best talent in the industry and nurtured its own human capital at the same time, which has become a competitive edge over its competitors. Besides, due to the work rotation policy in the organization, employees gain experience in different factors of power generation and project implementation. In the next 10-15 years, when more organizations invest and build a talent pool, WEC Energy will harness the power of human capital and maintain a competitive benefit in the industry (Sharifi, Fathi & Vahidinasab, 2017).

Figures: Electricity Generation by Major Sources in the US

Strategic alliance

The organization has settled to obtain a 90% ownership interest in Jayhawk Wind Farm, located in Crawford and Bourbon nations, Kansas. WEC Energy's investment will likely total $302 million for a 90% ownership interest and gain all tax benefits. Besides, the investment is portion of the $16B ESG development plan, which is the main five-year capital plan of the organization. This requires investment in growth, efficiency, and sustainability. Since WEC Energy Group includes renewable energy in its portfolio through the acquisition of Invenergy LLC, the company's geographical reach is increasing as its large carbon footprint shrinks (WEC, 2022).

 

Source: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/wec-energy-expands-its-map-of-wind-assets-in-quest-to-reduce-emissions-59298097

Political/legal forces

Political aspects can affect organizational operations, and political stability is an important factor that can determine the future of a business. However, political instability can affect the company's operations because WEC Energy cannot do business without peace. Some governments are now pushing for renewable energy sources and allowing foreign direct investment to compete in the region. After the economic liberalization, many private sectors entered the power generation business. Furthermore, an increase in wages for public sector labor by the government has strained the financial situation of WEC Energy. The special role in formulating energy policies is administered by a document issued by the European Commission that includes detailed guidelines of E.U. energy approach. In addition, legal acts and general procedures of the strategic-tactical nature consist of the European Energy Charter, the Energy Charter Treaty, the Presidency Conclusions, and the E.U. Green and White Paper (Bai, Cordeiro & Sarkis, 2020).

The electricity industry has generally been restructured in developed countries to improve service quality, reduce costs, and encourage the efficient use of electric utilities. Therefore, former state-owned utilities had been privatized. In Europe, there has been a vertical separation of generation, transmission, retailing, and distribution sections. Thus, the company should know the political climate of the regions and countries in which they operate and determine how to run their business. WEC Energy should ensure that its operations and policies are consistent with the present political situation in the nation (Martínez Hernández, Sánchez?Medina & Díaz?Pichardo, 2021).

Economic forces

Economic development is systematically growing the demand for global energy. Regardless of the ever-evolving situation, energy demand will continue to grow systematically in the coming years, but its dynamics may change. The third wave of the epidemic extends the restriction on movement and reduces global energy demand. The global economic output is projected to reflect in 2021 by 6%, forcing the global GDP by 2% higher than the 2019 level. Global energy demand is expected to grow in 2021 by 4.6%, above counterweighing the 4% contraction in 2020 and pushing demand above 0.5% in 2019. Approximately 70% of global energy demand is anticipated to increase in emerging economies and developing marketplaces, in which the demand is expected to grow to 3.4% higher than the 2019 level. In developed economies, the use of energy will be 3% less than at the pre-covid level (Tsai & Liao, 2017).

The demand for natural gas will increase by 3.2% due to increased demand in the Russian Federation, Asia, and the Middle East. As a result, it is likely to set global demand 1% higher than the 2019 level. The US is one of the largest natural gas markets in the world - yearly demand growth has offset by less than 20% from a 20 bcm decline in 2020, which has been suppressed by rising natural gas prices and renewable energy growth. About three-quarters of the global demand growth will come from the building and industrial segments, where electricity production from natural gas is less than the 2019 level (WEC, 2022).

The electricity demand is increased by 4.5% or more than 1000 TWh by 2021. It is about five times more than the fall in 2020, adding a share of electricity to the top 20% of final energy demand. About 80% of demand will increase in developing markets and emerging economies, where China is responsible for only half of global growth. In a developed economy, demand remains below 2019. However, the demand for renewable energy will increase by 3% by 2022 in all major sectors, including transport, heating, power, and industry. Hence, it can be said that when a country experiences a period of good economic development and growth, the success of an organization can be profitable. On the other hand, the organization may face lower revenues and profit margins during an economic crisis (Lozano, 2018).

Social forces

The energy industry is focused more on social matters, particularly by restraining greenhouse gas emission and providing information to society (public) regarding the execution of these actions. Social attitudes and value systems, international and local migration, consumer associations, and human mobility form the social environment for the energy enterprise. The electricity grid is better communicated and distributed in the current condition, and flow occurs in two orders - between smart customers and intelligent generators. Price changes usually reflect variations in fuel costs, electricity demand, availability of power plants, and generation sources (Nagy et al., 2018). The price is generally higher in summer when overall demand is higher as more expensive production resources are added to meet the increasing demand. Social norms also contribute greatly to the success or existence of WEC Energy, where it operates. Through knowing the social norms and cultural rules of the region in which it operates, the company must make sure that its services are integrated in a way that does not interfere with the social needs and cultural norms of the region where it will operate. Additionally, the organization should promote cultural diversity in the workplace and that its services and products include cultural diversity (Pickl, 2019).

Currently, society is becoming more aware of sustainable resources and renewable energy. Therefore, people will choose renewable energy in the future, which can affect the demand for electricity from non-renewable resources. In addition, the energy demand relies on various socio-economic aspects, such as industrialization, urbanization, population, technological development, net capital income, etc. Therefore, before predicting the future energy demand, the company needs to know about the energy demand pattern and growth in various segments, which requires energy demand analysis (Pickl, 2019).

Technological forces

The technological atmosphere of the energy industry can be signified by clean carbon technology, storage technology, and carbon capture. The energy storage system gives the potential to stable the energy demand and supply. Now, electric power corporations have access to new technology, invest in marginal shares of fast-growing and young startups, and gain benefit from the rise in the worth of new emerging businesses. The conversion of the European power system includes minimizing CO2 emissions, growing the share of renewable energy sources, connecting to the European electricity grid through new transmission connection, and giving consumers a more active role. As a result, the developing system will be more connected but decentralized. However, the energy industry is characterized by high technology and complexity. Thus, it is hard to make any changes, and a late response can make power organizations suffer from huge losses in terms of loss of market position and number of consumers (Massaro et al., 2021).

Technology is hindering the way organizations are executed within the energy industry. Renewable technology, equipment manufacturing, efficient fuel consumption, and improved operational efficiency are the primary technical forces that affect WEC Energy. In addition, modern technology must be used to ensure the best possible service delivery for its customers. In this way, the organization can gain a competitive benefit and thus ensure that the company is ahead of its competitors. For example, the organization uses new technologies to reserve excess energy in batteries when demand is low, which is used to meet maximum electricity demand (Inigo, Albareda & Ritala, 2017).

Furthermore, the organization is renovating the grid to support clean energy transformation. However, the threat of cybercrime can affect the business activities of the organization. Therefore, the organization should make sure that it uses modern technology to avoid the threat of cyber-attacks that can paralyze its operations. Furthermore, renewable technology will be a significant driver in the future. Using efficient and high boilers, WEC Energy Group can reduce fuel consumption and improve operational efficiency (Kaipainen & Aarikka?Stenroos, 2022).

Threats and opportunities facing the company

Threats

Environmental Risk

Apart from the impact of fossil fuels, the environmental impact of renewable energy sources must be considered, including:

· Problems include land use and challenges to habitat and wildlife.

· Production waste and hassle from wind to hydroelectric locations.

Economic/ Political Focus

There have been concerns about regulations because of changes in political actions. Each government subtracts or adds restrictions on the energy industry that affect the company's focus or outcome.

Supply and Demand

Government regulations and growing populace have intensified the demand for electricity which puts pressure on the domestic power grid and forces corporations to find solutions. The production of new systems is striving to stay in touch with the increasing demand (Kaipainen & Aarikka?Stenroos, 2022).

Cost of Services

The use of renewable energy, like solar, has reduced the profits of energy organizations. At the same time, the use of wind has the reverse consequence with the increasing initial costs. This makes problems with cost analysis relying on the location of the provider.

Ever-Changing Industry

Rapid change across industry forced energy organizations to expand into sustainable renewable energy and switch from fossil fuels after the evolution of the energy market (Breuer & Lüdeke-Freund, 2017).

Opportunities

Renewable Energy Investment

Investment and development in sustainable energy solutions are important for the future of WEC Energy. BHE renewables enable the supervision and development of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro projects to ensure a long-term association between the communities in which the company operates.

Acquisition

WEC Energy Group has entered into a contract with a $ 118m investment to expand its stake in three wind farms in the U.S. Midwest. The contract includes a 250MW Blooming Grove wind farm in Illinois, the 200MW Upstream Wind Energy Center, and 300MW Thunderhead Wind Energy Center in Nebraska. WEC Energy Group will get all associated tax benefits along with the partnership (Breuer & Lüdeke-Freund, 2017).

Policies and Strategies

WEC Energy's approach is to become the best energy corporation in serving consumers when offering sustainable energy solution. It is reached through the acquisitions of energy companies and dedication to new technologies.

Range of Services Invested in

WEC Energy Group invests in various energy sources to produce and deliver to customers, including nuclear, solar, geothermal, natural gas, coal, wind, biomass, and hydro. In addition, the organization will plan to invest $17.7 billion in utility infrastructure throughout 2022-26, a significant portion of which is set aside for "greening" its infrastructure.

Current financial position

WEC Energy Group posted a $4.11 per share or net revenue of $1.3 billion in 2021. It compares with earnings per share of $1.2 billion or $3.79 per share in 2020 - an increase of 8.4 percent year-over-year. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the company reported a net revenue of $224.2 million or 71 cents per share, compared to incomes of $239.0 million or 76 cents per share during the 4th quarter of 2020. In addition, the combined profits for 2021 was $8.3 billion, up to $1.1 billion in revenue than in 2020 (WEC, 2021).

 Revenue of WEC Energy Group

Fig: Revenue of WEC Energy Group

Source: https://charts.equityclock.com/wisconsin-energy-corporation-nysewec-seasonal-chart

Compared with competitors and standards

 

Figure: Revenue of leading energy companies in the United States

Source: Statista, 2022

Based on the figure above, ExxonMobil is the major power corporation within the US. In FY2020, the company generated $179.8b revenue. It was almost double the amount produced by Chevron, which is in 2nd place. Then again, Exelon is a largest electrical utility within the US. It ranked 7th position with $27.2 billion in revenue (Statista, 2022).

Financial analysis of WEC Energy Group

 

Fig: Financial performance of WEC Energy Group

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WEC/wec-energy/financial-ratios

Net Profit Margin

The net profit margin can be considered net Income as a part of total revenue. The net profit margin of WEC Energy for the financial year of 2021 was 15.63%.

 

Fig: Net profit margin

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WEC/wec-energy/net-profit-margin

Current ratio

The current ratio can be stated as a liquidity ratio that defines the ability of an organization to pay short-term obligations. The current ratio of WEC Energy Group for the Financial year of 2021 was 0.71.

 

Fig: Current Ratio

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WEC/wec-energy/current-ratio

Debt to equity ratio

The debt/equity ratio can regulate the financial leverage of a company computed by dividing its long-term debt by stockholders' equity. Here, the debt/equity ratio of WEC Energy for the financial year of 2021 was 1.22.

 

Fig: Debt-to-Equity ratio

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WEC/wec-energy/debt-equity-ratio

Return on Investment

The ROI for WEC Energy was 5.45% for the three months ending December 31, 2021. 

 

Fig: ROI

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WEC/wec-energy/roi

 

Source: Consolidated group revenue

Source: WEC 2021

The notable factors affecting the revenue growth are:

  • A $19.5 million rise in net revenue responsible for general shareholders in the Illinois sector was driven by the higher margin of natural gas because of an increase in late payment charges and PGL's continual capital investment under its QIP rider in the SMP project. Furthermore, low benefit costs also contribute to earnings growth. However, higher depreciation costs and a rise in natural gas distribution and maintenance costs partially offset these positive effects in 2021.
  • The $18.4 million growth in net revenue was accredited to ordinary shareholders in the non-utility energy infrastructure section, driven by the growth of PTC created in 2021, mainly due to its Tatanka Ridge Wind Park and Blooming Grove, which reached commercial activity in December 2020 and January 2021, respectively (WEC, 2021).
  • A $16.1 million growth in net revenue was accredited to mutual shareholders in the Wisconsin section, driven by the growth in electricity margins because of the high volume of retail sales.

Mission

WEC Energy Group is aimed to maximize organizational effectiveness and individual contribution through workforce diversification. The company is committed to being an inclusive company where each employee feels engaged, valued, and respected. To this end, the company will aim to:

  • Actively explore and encourage different viewpoints, ideas, and perspectives.
  • Make sure a highly skilled and diverse company at all levels and in all areas.
  • Create an inclusive work environment that embraces and respects diversity

These commitments show its firm determination to become a high-performance, pluralistic company with a sustainable competitive benefit in the international energy marketplace. The company initiates to work collaboratively and think critically to increase renewable and clean energy use, protect sensitive species and habitats, reduce business impact, and work locally to support its consumer use of energy more efficiently (Tang et al., 2018).

Vision

The vision of WEC Energy Group is to build a cleaner energy future that is affordable, safe, and reliable by reducing emissions. The company wants to be an environmental leader. It tries to show this commitment through its actions. The company continues to minimize methane emissions by optimizing its natural gas distribution system. In this context, WEC Energy Group is establishing a new target across its natural gas distribution operation to reach the net-zero methane emissions by 2030.

Core values ??and operating guidelines

WEC Energy Group is committed to doing business with the highest integrity level. The business value ??is the basis of all actions and decisions in the company. The company is intensely aware of its accountability to have a proper management system and governance structure for planning, managing, and forecasting the activities of a company. At WEC Energy Group, all personnel are asked to create values that direct their business daily. The company is committed to protecting our employees and the community. It targets zero injuries, incidents, and accidents on a daily basis (Hayashi et al., 2019). As a result, the company improves the well-being and health of its staff. The company implements proper management and governance system to plan and manage its business activities ethically. The company works daily to keep its position as one of the most trusted energy organizations in the country. The company believes in a culture of inclusion. Welcoming various perspectives and valuing individual workers results in better decisions and a stronger organization. Through appreciating human diversity and respecting each other, the company optimizes organizational effectiveness, corporate success, and individual contribution. Through flawless execution and clear communication, the goal is to satisfy each consumer in each transaction every time.

Each staff is accountable for managing costs effectively. Even in small matters, financial discipline assists the company in meeting the expectations of its shareholders and customers. The company holds itself and each other responsible for living up to its values and fulfilling its responsibilities. Leaders and managers support corporate models and behaviors essential to corporate success (Herbes et al., 2017).

For these values, employees and staff members must perform with integrity and, most importantly, communicate openly and honestly. This means that people must act honestly and ethically. Furthermore, it requires people to deal with others and problems openly, directly, and respectfully. As a result, people have to take steps consistent with the word, which means that individuals have to do the right thing despite the risks (Chang et al., 2017).

Core competencies

WEC Energy Group has set a record of completing projects in 35 months. This process includes cooperation with equipment suppliers, regulatory authorities, civilian contractors, and coal suppliers. To improve its core competencies, the company needs to address these issues better. It will have to look for alternatives for other equipment or joint ventures with other agencies, while the government will have to make some regulatory changes. Equipment supply is an essential cause of delay. The company does not have this capability in renewable resource power plants. The company needs to venture into renewable energy sources and restructure human resources, required technology, and construction requirements to achieve this benefit. There will be renewable resources that will be a significant source of energy in the future. Therefore, the company should develop its capability in the renewable resource sector to compete with other companies in the future (Zeng et al., 2018).

Additionally, the organization should invest in human resource training and the R&D of renewable technology to compete in the future. To improve the production speed of the plant, the company should train its staff and adopt better technology the production. The company has in-house training procedures and simulator training facilities so that its staff can be trained and benefit from research (Nosratabadi et al., 2019).

The performance of a company relies on raw material supply, technology, and human resources. The R&D facility is now working on technology development for WEC Energy Group. New technologies such as mega power projects involving supercritical technology must be implemented to improve their operational efficiency. The organization should enable the knowledge and its sharing to increase its knowledge capital. The company also has simulation training facilities and institutes to convey knowledge to the staff. There is also a need to facilitate knowledge sharing on corporate job sites because this culture has recently deteriorated (Nosratabadi et al., 2019).

Furthermore, another major aspect of operational efficiency is the accessibility of raw materials. Because of limited material supply, many plants are running under capacity. Therefore, a secure fuel supply has to be used to use their total capacity. Thus, the company needs to secure coal blocks in the global market.

Broad and specific goals

The goal is to neutralize the net carbon of the electricity generation fleet by 2050 and minimize the carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2025 and 80% by 2030 compared to the 2005 level. Further, WEC Energy intends to reach net-zero methane emission from the natural gas distribution system by 2030, and eliminate coal as a source of energy by 2035. The company continues to work with state leaders, industry partners, and environmental groups to achieve its goals and offer clean, affordable, and reliable energy (WEC, 2022). The focus is on maintaining a balanced electric generation mix while performing the following steps:

  • Improving the natural gas distribution system
  • Investing in renewable, cost-effective, and zero-carbon generation
  • Retiring less efficient and older fossil-fueled units

Current organization-level strategies

The strategy of WEC Energy Group is to reinvest in the business, acquire the company, and invest in internal growth. The sustainability system enables the organization to determine behavior, input, and output controls for corporate success. Based on the market assessment of the energy organization and environmental issues, the company is taking strategic steps for renewable energy sources. WEC Energy has applied controls that will enhance its renewable energy portfolio to remain ahead of its rivals and develop a robust grid system that comprises physical resilience and cyber security program (Mezger et al., 2020).

Organizational structure

The company is committed to doing business with a high level of honesty and business values ??that pertain to all decisions and actions. The company understands its responsibility to have a proper management system and governance structure for forecasting, planning, and managing the activities of a company. The organizational structure includes accountability to primary stakeholders as well as policies and management systems that contribute to effective and efficient operations. The company's corporate governance is an important driver for a key element of sustainability and the value of shareholders in the company. The short-term goal of WEC Energy is to provide its consumers with access to adequate energy.

Strategies aligned with the goals

The company has developed many systems and has many relationships with diverse suppliers to reduce operating costs. So, the strategy that comes from this action is a low-cost provider strategy. The company employs various strategies such as broad fuel mix choices, ambitious growth targets, technology alternatives, and potential changes in the evolving business environment to maintain competitiveness, maintain its leadership position in the U.S. energy sector, and take steps to enhance its global presence. The goal is to make long-term value for the customers and stockholders of its utility organizations with a focus on exceptional customer care, reliability, and environmental performance. The company has invested in strengthening power generation and distribution network reliability (Baldassarre et al., 2017).

Compare the organization's strategies with those of competitors

The organizational strategy of WEC Energy Group is to make long-term value by focusing on the basic facilities, such as and financial discipline, world-class safety, reliability, customer care, operational efficiency. On the other hand, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. is a close competitor. The strategy of Berkshire Hathaway remains unchanged - take care of and reinvest in its existing assets and business, invest in internal growth opportunities and acquire companies to increase its productivity and profitability in the U.S. energy sector. In addition, this company embodies six core principles that guide its actions and decisions (Mezger et al., 2020).

Strengths (S)

S1: Company acquisitions

S2: Renewable Energy Generation

Weaknesses (W)

W1: Product Range

W2: Investment in New Technology

Opportunities (O)

O1: Range of Services Invested in

O2: Community Solar

SO Strategies

S1/O1- The integration of renewable energy into the solar community has provided reliable benefits when building relationships. Expanding systems and programs in other regions of the Southwest and Midwest can provide reliable energy sources and benefit from renewable resources (Clerjon & Perdu, 2022).

W.O. Strategies

W1/O2- The different energy fields that invest in can be difficult to manage. A new management and monitoring system allows the organization to overview the energy consumption, flow, and distribution of electricity and natural gas products. The system allows customers to monitor the power on their own footprint.

Threats (T)

T1: Economic/ Political Focus

T2: Supply and Demand

S.T. Strategies

S2/T1- Acquisition is restricted by market constraints, and not much can be done to change them. Focus on the benefits of consolidation related to the environmental impact and local economy when an area deviates from the exclusive energy sector (Mezger et al., 2020).

W.T. Strategies

W2/T2- As product diversity continues to evolve, there are consumption and storage problems that lead to demand and supply issues. Production needs to be increased to meet the demand for fuel. The installation of new solar and wind grids as well as energy storage units will give a quality source for the community power grid (Clerjon & Perdu, 2022).

Evaluate Strategy Application

To compete with many large companies, WEC Energy implements generic business strategies. It uses a stable net cash flow which allows it to put resources and invest into adjoining product segments. As a result, the company can introduce new technologies with more money in the new services sector because it will make opportunities for WEC Energy in other product divisions. In addition, WEC Energy may use new technologies that allow them to practice different pricing strategies in new markets and integrate smaller companies to have the share of failure to merge companies with varying work cultures (Zeng et al., 2018).

In addition, WEC Energy Group does not take advantage of the relevant cost and value driver for the business strategy mentioned above; WEC has not applied high brand awareness or innovative technology to enhance the competitive benefit and value for customers. In addition, reasonable value drivers and costs are not being used as WEC Energy is not very good at forecasting product demand which could lead to a greater level of opportunity than competitors like Berkshire Hathaway. As a result, the company is expected to maintain an extensive inventory in-house and channel (Chang et al., 2017).

Key performance indicators

Factors

Weight

Rating

WGTD Score

High level of Customer Satisfaction

0.15

4

0.60

Renewable Energy Generation

0.05

4

0.20

Company acquisitions

0.10

3

0.30

Market strategy

0.10

5

0.50

Research and development

0.15

3

0.45

Marketing

The marketing strategy of WEC Energy focuses on offering quality energy to the community at an affordable price. The company distinguishes itself from other organizations by promoting clean and renewable energy. This organization also uses natural resources sensibly for sustainability across its solar and wind projects. It ensures customer satisfaction by maintaining low rates and minimizing the environmental impact with clean, renewable energy sources (Kaipainen & Aarikka?Stenroos, 2022).

Finance

The organization is committed to financial discipline and efficiency - and an encouraging return to energy demand in the second half of 2020, resulting in the highest net earnings from operations and the highest earnings per share in the history of an organization. The company has invested about $2.2 billion in its core business to improve customer service and keep reliability.

Operation and purchase

As a service-oriented energy company with various power generation methods, it provides reliable and secure service to millions of consumers. The use of renewable energy is a major way to provide energy to its customers. It also enhances operational practices to provide quality power for greater customer satisfaction. It offers other services and power supplies, such as distribution consulting, energy consultancy, etc., to enhance the relationship with the existing consumers (Herbes et al., 2017).

Human resources

The goal of human resources at WEC Energy is to make a competitive benefit over humans. Therefore, H.R. has a vital role in helping create strategies and people-related programs, initiatives, and policies, which means staff see the company as the employer of choice and help ensure long-term business success.

Information system

WEC Energy focuses on expanding the use of renewable energy. This allows the organization to take benefit of new technologies. The company is devoted to excellence in the services and products to its valued customers. The company uses automated systems for giving quick responses and system management to ensure that it provides the best possible service to its consumers (Clerjon & Perdu, 2022).

Functional strategies

The company should adhere to financial discipline to meet earnings estimation and keep a strong balance sheet, increased dividends, stable cash flow, and a quality credit rating. The company pursues the asset management strategy that emphasizes investing in and acquiring assets related to its strategic plan and asset disposal, including equipment, plants, property, and all business units. The company has followed a proactive approach to managing environmental compliance responsibilities (Sunar & Birge, 2019).

Previous & current impact/success of improvement initiatives

The practice of Six Sigma has benefited WEC Energy Group in a way that made up only 16% of the capital invested in 2016 alone. In addition, they could minimize refinery cast operating costs to improve energy efficiency. These results only get better over time. These practices and ideas stay with the staff, taking them deeper into the organizational infrastructure (Chang et al., 2017).

WEC Energy Group has saved billions of dollars in operating costs because of its Six Sigma policy implementation. The company used the Six Sigma approach for performance improvement, data collection and analysis, and risk management. This practice allows the company to receive new insights into process problems and make improvements to modify them.

Improvement initiatives and integration into strategic management

The Balanced Scorecard is designed to address issues where the traditional shapes of companies focus on financial matters, not the front, but the back. These efforts are classified as strategic approaches.

Employee learning and growth: The company needs to be able to refine and innovate efficiency to enter new markets and maximize profits. The company can use several measures that support this approach, including planning accuracy, R&D costs, and the ratio of new products to total offerings.

Internal processes: The company should explore the processes that have the highest impact on customer satisfaction and assess core competencies. Also, the organization needs to focus on innovation and improvement. For this company, factors may include product development, production, distribution, and after-sales processes.

Customer Satisfaction: The company needs to speak to its consumers to know their expectations and measure against their expectations.

Financial: Financial performance must be a logical consequence of fundamental improvement. Financial results are easier to measure but more limited because they have a backward focus and tend to focus on the short term. The initial metrics include shareholder value, profitability, and growth.

Comparison of improvement initiatives with other organizations

Benchmarking

WEC Energy

Berkshire Hathaway

Duke Energy

Factor

Weight

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Quality Management

0.20

4

0.80

3

0.60

3

0.60

Financial Strength

0.15

4

0.60

3

0.45

4

0.60

Asset Quality and Scale

0.10

3

0.30

3

0.30

3

0.30

Technical Capabilities

0.20

4

0.80

4

0.80

4

0.80

Global Expansion

0.05

4

0.20

3

0.15

4

0.20

Conclusion and Future of Organization

WEC Energy Group continues to provide its customers with quality products and the most innovative services. The company's organizational structure, infrastructure, and logistics are strategically arranged and used to sustain optimal operational efficiency. The sustainable supply chain alliance of the energy services divisions encouraged WEC to work towards sustainable development by increasing and investing in renewable energy to deliver competitive advantage and area for quality output. The business growth depends on the acquisition of several organizations that benefits WEC Energy as a whole beyond its business footprint.

To improve its strategic position and business strategy, WEC Energy Group needs to make investments that will help it use various energy sources. This is more convenient for WEC Energy Group to move to these sources as soon as possible. The company should invest considerable capital in research and development practices. The money received from investors will help WEC Energy Group to remain aggressive in the marketplace and go for the authoritative goals. This will help WEC Energy to set its goals governed by the business. In addition, WEC Energy should test new hardware to see if it can improve performance due to energy loss and meet environmental regulations and benchmarks.

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My Assignment Help (2022) WEC Energy Group: Largest Energy Supplier In The US, Essay. [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/mgt527-strategic-management/strategic-audit-for-wec-energy-group-file-B1E5782.html
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My Assignment Help. WEC Energy Group: Largest Energy Supplier In The US, Essay. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2022 [cited 15 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/mgt527-strategic-management/strategic-audit-for-wec-energy-group-file-B1E5782.html.

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