Alliant Energy introduced the Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa, a path for accelerating its transition to cleaner energy for customers. The Blueprint outlines the company’s plans to increase the use of renewable resources, including solar power, add more battery storage and build out the connected energy network. The company’s new roadmap also includes plans to discontinue coal generation in Lansing by the end of 2022 while transitioning their Burlington Generating Station to natural gas in 2021.
The Clean Energy Blueprint is part of the company’s Powering What’s Next plan, which is guided by its Clean Energy Vision and purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities. Together, the near-term investments in the projects outlined in the Blueprint will help Iowa customers avoid more than $300 million in costs over the next 35 years.
“We continue to lead the way toward a clean energy future for our customers,” said Alliant Energy chairman, president and CEO John Larsen. “Investing in renewable energy, like wind and solar, benefits our customers, the communities we serve and the environment. Our Clean Energy Blueprint serves as a roadmap that creates new jobs for Iowans and revenue opportunities for communities around the state, while we also provide reliable, sustainable energy solutions for decades to come.”
A key part of the Clean Energy Blueprint, which aligns with changing consumer preferences for more renewable energy, includes adding up to 400 MW of solar by 2023. Near-term investment in renewables creates long-term savings for customers. When the 400 MW of solar is combined with the nearly 1,300 MW of owned-and-operated wind and the power generated by the company’s existing solar farms in Dubuque, Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids, as well as other renewable sources, nearly 50% of Alliant Energy’s Iowa generation portfolio will be from renewables.
With an eye toward contributing to a healthier environment, Alliant Energy plans to retire its 275-MW coal-fired Generating Station in Lansing by the end of 2022; final timing is subject to the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.) retirement process. This retirement allows the company to avoid significant investments that would otherwise be required to comply with changing environmental regulations. In addition, this action positions Alliant Energy to achieve their recently updated goals of 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and elimination of all coal from their generation fleet by 2040.
Under the plan, Alliant Energy will also transition the Burlington Generating Station from coal to natural gas in 2021. This action ensures the company maintains a diversified energy mix providing energy availability and reliability that complements its wind and solar energy generation. Once complete, the facility will use less water and have significantly reduced carbon emissions.
“For decades, our employees have done an outstanding job maintaining and operating our coal-fired power plants to deliver affordable and reliable energy for Iowans,” said Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company. “As we transition from coal toward a cleaner energy mix, our top priorities include caring for our employees, creating new local jobs and bringing new economic development opportunities to the communities we serve.”
Throughout the transition at both power plants, Alliant Energy will provide career assistance to employees who are interested. This includes one-on-one coaching, tuition reimbursement and other resources geared toward the individual and unique needs of each employee.
In addition to caring for employees, Alliant Energy will work with the communities of Burlington and Lansing on the upcoming transitions. The company will also work closely with city and community leaders in Lansing to determine the best use of the site along with ways to continue supporting the economic health of the community.
As part of its Blueprint, Alliant Energy is also exploring how battery storage can enhance reliability and expects to add up to 100 MW of distributed energy resources (such as community solar and energy storage systems) by 2026. When used in conjunction with solar generation, battery storage serves as a “renewable electron bank” designed to store excess power that’s generated when the sun is most powerful and then release the energy, as needed.
“We are exploring battery storage as a cost-effective alternative that meets our customer’s energy needs while also creating a connected energy network that fully realizes the value of combining these resources,” added Kouba.
Just last week, the company announced its Marshalltown battery is in operation. This follows the battery installation near Wellman late last year and the co-installation of battery storage that’s underway in Decorah, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The company is seamlessly connecting customer-owned solar while maintaining reliable electrical service across the community.
The Blueprint also includes a focus on offering energy efficiency programs to help customers manage long-term costs. A new Smart Thermostat Demand Response program is designed to do just that while also helping customers better manage their energy bills. With this advanced technology, customers can control how they keep their homes comfortable – during the hottest or coldest days of the year – while also reducing their energy consumption.
Alliant Energy is also offering customers, businesses and communities solutions to achieve their clean, renewable energy goals. Customers can:
- Construct and participate in a local solar project and offset up to 100% of their energy use.
- Participate in a customer-hosted, utility-owned solar garden project, constructed by Alliant Energy on their roof or property to generate power for the community.
- Partner with Alliant Energy to build, own and maintain a dedicated solar site on their behalf and then buy back the energy that’s generated at a contracted rate.
Alliant Energy’s Iowa Clean Energy Blueprint – from solar power to battery storage and smart thermostats – demonstrates a commitment to the company’s values to Do the right thing and Care for others. The Blueprint also puts Alliant Energy on course to achieve its new aspirational goal of achieving, by 2050, net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the electricity it generates.
The Clean Energy Blueprint is the company’s guide toward more renewables across their service area in Iowa and Wisconsin. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com/cleanenergyblueprint.
News item from Alliant Energy