Alliant Announces Plan for 1 GW of Solar in Wisconsin

Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy has announced a plan to add 1 GW of solar power generation to its portfolio by 2023. The company on Oct. 31 in its “Powering What’s Next Plan” said it would begin construction of its first “Community Solar” site in Fond du Lac County next year.

David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy-Wisconsin, in a statement said: “By building new solar energy resources, we are contributing to a brighter future for our customers and the communities we serve. We look forward to working with our employees and labor partners in the construction, operation and maintenance of our new clean energy investments.”

The utility said, “changing economics, customer sustainability goals and better renewable technology are driving the acceleration” of its solar power buildout.

Alliant is headquartered in Madison, a city with an announced goal to receive all its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. The Alliant plan announced Thursday is part of the utility’s plan to provide about 20% of Madison’s business power needs via renewable energy.

Scott Blankman, director of Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy group, in a statement said, “By and large, we applaud Alliant’s investment in clean energy, especially at this scale. We’re pleased that they are actively accelerating their transition towards renewables and putting solar power to work for their customers in communities around Wisconsin. However, there is ample room for Alliant to move even faster in their transition away from fossil fuel energy generation.”

Alliant as part of its “Act for Tomorrow” program has said that renewable resources will make up 30% of its energy mix by 2030. The utility has said it will “eliminate all existing coal” from its portfolio by 2050. The company, which serves customers in Iowa and Wisconsin, has retired more than 1 GW of coal-fired generation since 2005. It has two remaining coal plants in Wisconsin: the 1,100-MW Columbia Energy Center, and the 380-MW Edgewater Generating Station.

John Larsen, chairman, president, and CEO of Alliant Energy, in a statement said, “We’re accelerating our transition to a clean energy future and putting renewable energy to work for our customers. For more than 100 years, our mission has been to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy services.”

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine).

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