Investing in Iowa clean energy

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The energy landscape in Iowa is changing. Individuals and families traveling through the state will no doubt encounter new wind turbines, more solar panels and generating stations that have adopted innovative technologies that produce cleaner, more efficient operations. These changes are making energy more reliable in Iowa and strengthening the economy across the state.

I’m proud that Alliant Energy, where I serve as president of Iowa operations, has been an important part of these critical transformations. Over the past several years, we have advanced clean energy in the state to significantly reduce emissions and provide more reliable energy to customers across our diverse 83 county service territory. During this time frame, the company invested hundreds of millions of dollars transitioning nearly all of our coal facilities to natural gas, which we anticipate will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions and mercury emissions by 90 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent.

We are complementing those efforts by expanding renewable energy production across the state for our customers. Most notably, Alliant Energy is currently investing $1 billion to expand wind energy production in the state of Iowa. The energy we produce through this initiative will power thousands of Iowa homes and businesses, provide direct payments to landowners across the state, and expand the tax base for our local communities. Through this project and possibly others, we plan to double our wind energy production in the state of Iowa over the next eight years.

At the same time, we are building the state’s largest solar array that will include more than 15,000 solar panels. That project, which is located in Dubuque County, involves a $10 million investment and will start generating power this fall.

The expanded use of natural gas, wind and solar will result in meaningful reductions in coal production. By 2024, we anticipate coal will make up just 20 percent of the company’s generation capacity in the state of Iowa, down from 50 percent in 2007. This balanced approach will provide the most reliable power for Iowa customers, whether they live in an urban, rural or suburban community.

I am providing this overview in response to a recent guest opinion published in The Gazette that touched on the use of cleaner and renewable sources of energy. But more importantly, we remain committed to communicating with customers about our long-term priorities, particularly the ongoing efforts to advance clean energy and invest in Iowa communities.

This plan will span decades and require close, ongoing collaboration with policy makers, economic development leaders, elected officials and most importantly our customers. Those that have questions, comments or concerns are welcome to visit AlliantEnergy.com/CommunityInvolvement.

• Doug Kopp is president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility.

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