Several Wisconsin coal plants will remain online years longer than planned as supply constraints caused by COVID-19 delay plans to transition away from fossil fuels, two of the state’s largest utilities announced Thursday.

Madison-based Alliant Energy and Milwaukee-based We Energies said those delays and economic challenges will postpone operation of clean energy projects. That means it will take longer for renewable energy to replace coal-fired power plants, requiring utilities to rely on fossil fuels longer than anticipated.

Utilities also expressed concerns about maintaining reliable power as the regional grid operator has said 15 states, including Wisconsin, could see an energy shortage of 2,600 megawatts next year.

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