Alliant pursues wind energy plans in Wisconsin after major Iowa wind investment
- Alliant Energy is planning to invest in wind generation in Wisconsin, a part of the utility's continued expansion into clean energy resources and an announcement that comes just a week after it announced a major plan in Iowa, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports.
- Alongside Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Alliant recently announced plans to expand its Whispering Willow Wind Farm by 500 MW, a $1 billion project which could be in operation by 2019.
- In an earnings call this week to discuss strong second quarter earnings, Alliant Chair and CEO Pat Kampling said the utility is considering wind purchases in Wisconsin to offset fuel purchases and market expenses.
Iowa is already a leader in wind energy, second in the nation only behind Texas. Wisconsin's total wind generation is not even 650 MW, about a tenth of Iowa's, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel points out. Alliant is considering investing in more turbines there, though no details were given on the size or possible cost of the project.
In a call with analysts yesterday to discuss the company's second quarter earnings, Kampling said the company is "evaluating additional wind energy purchases and future investments for Wisconsin customers. This will add economic and stable energy to our fuel cost and allow us to offset market purchases of energy."
The utility is working on a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from 2005 to 2030.
In Iowa, the wind expansion will aid the states economy, generating millions in property taxes, and creating more than 1,500 temporary construction jobs.
"We had originally forecasted additional renewable investments in the second five years of our 10-year capital plan," Kampling said in the earnings call, discussing the Iowa project. "This plan accelerates this investment in order to take advantage of the full benefit of the production tax credit extension. This means that the expected in-service dates of the new wind project will now be in 2019 and 2020."
Alliant Energy's utilities, American Transmission Co. and Alliant Energy Corporate Services generated 35 cents per share from continuing operations in Q2'16, 9 cents higher than the same period last year. Company officials say the major factors included the timing of income tax expense, losses on sales of Minnesota electric and gas distribution assets last year, estimated weather impacts on sales, lower retail electric customer billing credits at Interstate Power and Light, and lower energy efficiency cost recovery amortizations at Wisconsin Power and Light.
- Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Alliant eyes Wisconsin wind energy growth
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter