October 30, 2020 Read More →

Alliant to close one coal-fired power plant in Iowa, convert a second to gas

Des Moines Register:

Alliant Energy will close its Lansing coal-fired power plant in northeast Iowa over the next two years as it shifts to more solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. Retiring the Lansing plant is part of a broader goal to eliminate all coal from Alliant’s power generation system by 2040, the company said Thursday.

The Wisconsin-based investor-owned utility, which serves 490,000 customers in Iowa, including in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Iowa City and Ames, announced broader sustainability goals in July. They include a plan to cut in half carbon dioxide emissions over the next decade and to reach “net-zero carbon dioxide emissions” from electric generation by 2050.

“We have some really good options to continue back-filling the fossil fuel plants that we close with a combination of storage, solar and wind,” said Terry Kouba, president of Alliant’s Iowa energy company, Interstate Power & Light. Adding more renewable energy generation in Iowa “benefits customers, the communities we serve and the environment,” Kouba said.

Alliant said it’s operated the 275-megawatt coal-fired generation plant in Lansing for 72 years and employs 26 people there. Retiring the plant “allows the company to avoid significant investments that would otherwise be required to comply with changing environmental regulations,” Alliant said. A utility spokesman said the company faced capital investments and other costs that total $150 million.

Alliant also said Thursday it will transition its Burlington plant to cleaner-burning natural gas next year. “Once complete, the facility will use less water and have significantly reduced carbon emissions,” the company said.

Alliant plans to add up to 400 megawatts of solar energy-generation in Iowa over the next three years. With the added solar investment, nearly half of Alliant’s Iowa energy generation will come from renewable energy, the company said. Alliant has solar farms in Dubuque, Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids, along with its wind farms.

[Donnelle Eller]

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