March 31, 2021 Read More →

Wisconsin utility continues coal to solar transition of its generation portfolio

Wisconsin Public Radio:

Madison-based Alliant Energy is set to become the largest owner and operator of solar power in Wisconsin under plans unveiled Wednesday. The utility is making good on its goal to build 1,000 megawatts of solar power in Wisconsin by the end of 2023.

The utility released plans Wednesday to spend roughly $515 million to add 414 megawatts of solar generation on top of its nearly $900 million plans to construct 675 megawatts of solar announced last spring. Alliant’s combined nearly $1.4 billion investment is the most ambitious addition of solar power among any utility in the state, of which 35 to 40 percent will be financed by a private investor to utilize federal tax credits.

In all, Alliant has a dozen projects that are either proposed or under development, spanning around 9,500 acres. The projects are expected to power around 260,000 homes in Wisconsin. Once built, the projects along with other renewable resources like hydro, wind and solar will make up nearly half of Alliant’s power mix in the region by 2025.

The plans follow Alliant’s announcement in February that it would shut down its last remaining coal plant in Columbia County by the end of 2024. The move is part of the company’s goal of eliminating coal from its power mix by 2040 and cutting carbon emissions 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Alliant announced last spring that it was shuttering its Edgewater coal plant in Sheboygan by the end of 2022.

“Guided by our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build strong communities, we are accelerating our transition to cleaner energy,” said David de Leon in a statement, president of Alliant Energy’s utility in Wisconsin. “This continued transition is a smart investment, benefiting our customers long-term, while also creating hundreds of jobs across the state and providing local communities with shared-revenues.”

The plans are part of Alliant’s Clean Energy Blueprint that’s expected to save customers between $2 billion and $6.5 billion over the next 35 years.

[Danielle Kaeding]

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