116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Alliant Energy plans Tuesday to file a proposal with the Iowa Utilities Board to buy a large-scale solar project near Palo from NextEra Energy and further develop that project into the state’s largest solar and battery storage facility.
The plan calls for NextEra to continue developing 200 megawatts of solar energy and 75 megawatts of energy storage as the first two phases of a planned solar project near the site of the decommissioning Duane Arnold Energy Center.
Alliant would buy the completed project from NextEra, adding another 200 megawatts of solar at a later date, Alliant announced Tuesday morning.
“This is good for our customers, the communities we serve and the environment while powering tens of thousands of homes with solar energy,” Mayuri Farlinger, director of operations at Alliant Energy, said in a prepared statement. “In addition, these projects assure our customers we have a diverse mix of reliable energy generation to meet their ongoing demands.”
As energy costs rise and climate change causes more extreme weather that can disrupt energy delivery, scientists, entrepreneurs and government leaders are considering the best ways to store energy so it’s there when it is needed.
Each year, some share of Iowa’s wind power isn’t delivered to the power grid because demand for power is low at the time. If this energy could be stored and later sold into the grid, Iowa's wind plant owners could make more than $25 million a year, according to a December report from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
The proposed Duane Arnold Solar Project will create up to 200 new construction jobs, Alliant said. In addition to the jobs, there is ripple effect of wages, tax revenue and other economic activity connected with the projects.
By locating the project at the former Duane Arnold site, Alliant can use power transmission infrastructure already there, the company said.
Once all the new Palo projects are operational, combined with Alliant Energy’s existing 1,300 megawatts of wind generation in Iowa, nearly 50 percent of the company’s total resource mix in the state will be from renewable resources, the company said.
Alliant is on pace to meet this milestone by 2025. The company wants to be at net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Utilities Board’s decision on the Palo project is expected in the second half of 2022, Alliant said.
NextEra, which has operated in Iowa since 1999, said in June it plans to invest $800 million in the solar project, including $50 million paid to landowners over the project’s 30-year life span.
The project will be built on about 1,000 acres that includes the Duane Arnold site and land leased from nearby owners.
The company’s land leasing phase was nearly complete in June, Project Director Kimberly Dickey said at the time. She said NextEra would not use eminent domain to acquire the land.
Alliant, headquartered in Madison, Wisc., serves nearly 977,000 electric customers and 420,000 natural gas customers in Iowa and Wisconsin. The company already has several solar projects and an energy storage pilot project in Decorah.
Comments: (319) 339-3157; email@example.com