- Alliant Energy announced plans on Thursday to add up to 1,000 MW of solar generation in Wisconsin by the end of 2023.
- The solar additions are part of its "Powering What's Next" plan, which also has a heavy emphasis on a transition to customer participation and grid modernization. The investor-owned utility will invest $1.8 billion in its network through 2020 to improve the security and reliability of its digital communications with distributed energy resources.
- The utility is evaluating options for its coal fleet and said it will release more information in early 2020. Alliant attributes 998 MW of its nameplate capacity in Wisconsin to coal generation, according to a spokesperson.
Adding solar generation is the first milestone in Alliant's plan, as the company evaluates a slew of clean energy projects in its service area.
The utility wants to increase solar panel usage across Wisconsin and will break ground on a 1 MW community solar project in 2020, separate from the 1 GW goal.
Environmental advocacy groups across the state applauded the broader solar announcement, but pointed out that the utility can move even faster and commit to the state's goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.
"[T]here is ample room for Alliant to move even faster in their transition away from fossil fuel energy generation," Scott Blankman, energy and air program director at Clean Wisconsin, said in a statement.
The utility has pledged to reduce carbon emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050.
Alliant still has coal generation units at the Columbia and Edgewater plants. It had previously announced plans to close all coal ash ponds by the end of 2023.
Alliant serves about 15% of the residential customers in Wisconsin. The biggest investor-owned utilities in the state are subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group: Wisconsin Public Service Corp serves 15% of residential customers and Wisconsin Electric Power serves 38%.
Alliant's Iowa-based utility subsidiary will begin developing a Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa customers in January 2020.