- Alliant Energy is planning a 500 MW, $1 billion expansion of an Iowa wind farm, with company officials standing alongside Gov. Terry Branstad (R) to pitch the project as a boon for the state's economy and essential to meeting renewable energy goals, Quad-City Times reports.
- Alliant's five-year plan calls for expanding its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County, along with additional capacity being considered for other locations.
- The utility said the project is a part of its "vision for a clean energy future." From 2005 to 2030, Alliant plans to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of its fleet by 40%.
Alliant's Iowa wind expansion will be made through its utility subsidiary Interstate Power and Light, the company explained, following a June solicitation for more wind generation. IPL has filed an application for advanced ratemaking principles to enable the expansion of Whispering Willow.
“Our customers expect low-cost, clean energy, which is exactly what this project will bring to the communities we serve,” IPL President Doug Kopp said in a statement. “Wind has no fuel costs and zero emissions, making it a win-win for Iowans and the Iowa economy.”
Alliant said if state regulators approve the ratemaking application, the company would "expect to reprioritize, and in some cases delay, certain components of its current 2016-2019 construction expenditure plan to incorporate this investment."
The company is requesting an 11.5% return on equity for the project. The $1 billion cost estimate includes allowance for funds used during construction, but excludes transmission, Alliant said. The measure would be paid for via a new renewable energy rider being proposed.
In addition to lower emissions, the project is being sold as a boon to the state's economy. Quad-City Times reports the announcement was made with Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Alliant Energy CEO Patricia Kampling, all on hand. The expansion will generate millions in property taxes, and create more than 1,500 temporary construction jobs.
Alliant's project is not the only new wind development making headway in Iowa. A 2,000 MW wind project being developed by MidAmerican Energy is back on track after being stalled by pushback from large customers.
MidAmerican Energy filed plans with the IUB in April for Wind XI, but some of its largest customers opposed the project. This week, however, they reached a settlement, agreeing on an 11% return on equity. The settlement also calls for the environmental benefits of the wind farm to be assigned to various customer classes based on their energy usage.
State regulators will still need to approve the settlement.