Gale E. Klappa
Executive Chairman at WEC Energy Group
Thank you, and good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today as we review our results for the third quarter of 2022. First, I'd like to introduce the members of our management team who are here with me. We have Scott Lauber, our President and Chief Executive; Xia Liu, our Chief Financial Officer; and Beth Straka, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations.
Now, as you saw from our news release this morning, we reported third quarter 2022 earnings of $0.96 a share. Three major factors shaped another solid quarter, strong performance from our Infrastructure segment, an uptick from our ownership in American Transmission Company, plus a warm close to the summer in September. Of course, our balance sheet and cash flows remained strong and stable.
Now, I'll switch gears and provide you with some background on the Wisconsin rate settlements that we announced in October. As you recall, we filed rate reviews earlier this year with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for all our Wisconsin utilities. After the commission staff completed its analysis, we reached agreements with multiple parties, including the Citizens Utility Board and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group. In fact, more parties supported these settlements than any other settlement we've reached over the years. Scott will provide you with more detail on the terms in just a moment, but I would simply say that we view this as a very positive step forward. The process, it's now in the home stretch and we look forward to the commission's review which we expect in December.
Our other big news for the day is the rollout of our ESG Progress Plan for the period 2023 through 2027. As you may have seen from our announcement this morning, we expect to invest $20.1 billion with an ongoing focus on efficiency, sustainability, and growth. This is the largest capital plan in our history, an increase of $2.4 billion. That's more than 13.5% above our previous five-year plan.
Now, as we look forward, I would describe our growth trajectory as long and strong. In fact, our plan will now support compound earnings growth of 6.5% to 7% a year over the next five years without any need to issue equity. And as you've come to expect from us, this projected earnings growth will be a very high quality. Highlights of the plan include a significant increase in renewable energy projects for our regulated utilities from roughly 2,400 megawatts of capacity in our previous plan to nearly 3,300 megawatts in this plan.
And as we continue to decarbonize our system, it's important to point out that passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is a real true game-changer for customer affordability. We now project long-term customer savings of nearly $2 billion from our investment in renewables in this five-year plan. That's nearly double what we projected just a year ago.
We've also dedicated more capital to hardening our networks, our electric distribution networks so that we can deliver high level of reliability for our customers. And we've included in the new ESG Progress Plan an increase in transmission investment. Two major factors are driving this growth, renewable projects that require transmission and the long-range planning process being conducted by MISO, the Midwest grid operator. Add it all up, shake it all around, and we have what I really believe is a premium growth plan. The projects that are driving our growth are low-risk and highly executable. They are paving the way for greater sustainability, paving the way for an energy future that's affordable, reliable, and clean.
And now, before I turn it over to Scott, I'd like to cover a significant development in our Infrastructure segment. Just yesterday, you may have seen the news that we will acquire an 80% interest in the Maple Flats Solar Energy Center. That's a 250-megawatt project being developed by Invenergy in South Central Illinois. We plan to invest approximately $360 million for 80% ownership of the project. Maple Flats has an offtake agreement with a Fortune 100 company for the sale of all the energy it will produce, and under the Inflation Reduction Act, Maple Flats will qualify for production tax credits. The project of course meets all our financial criteria and we will further diversify the renewable assets in the Infrastructure segment of our business.
And finally, a brief look at the regional economy. Wisconsin added 14,400 private sector jobs in September and the unemployment rate in the state stands at 3.2%. That's well below the national average. We continue to see major investments from growing companies in our region and a wide range of developments is in the pipeline, so I would just say, watch this space.
And with that, I will turn the call over to Scott for more information on our regulatory developments, our operations, and our Infrastructure segment. Scott, all yours.