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Duane Arnold Solar will provide significant benefits to Linn County
Nov. 8, 2021 3:23 pm
Last week applications were submitted for the Duane Arnold Solar projects. The positive economic impact associated with the projects is undeniable. According to an economic impact study conducted by Strategic Economic Research, the two projects will have a combined positive economic impact of up to $260 million on the state of Iowa (including up to $154 million in Linn County). That includes the cumulative ripple effects of new jobs, wages, tax revenue and other economic activity during construction and over the estimated 30-year life of the projects. That kind of local investment can provide an incredible uplift to our local businesses and residents.
The economic benefits from the Duane Arnold Solar projects are just the start. These projects will provide renewable electricity, which many companies looking to expand in Eastern Iowa now demand. Increasingly, businesses looking to grow here will not consider a local development site unless renewable energy is part of the equation.
The projects would benefit Iowa in many other ways, including maintaining our clean air and water, while also providing renewable electricity for Iowans. According to the application, Alliant Energy will purchase the projects’ ownership upon the commercial operation date. Thus, during operations, the solar projects will be owned by Alliant Energy, which means the homegrown, clean energy Duane Arnold Solar generates will serve Alliant Energy customers across the State of Iowa.
The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance has long supported projects that spur economic development and growth. Duane Arnold Solar represents exactly the kind of low-impact, high-value development we should be encouraging. The company developing and constructing the projects, NextEra Energy Resources, isn’t new to Iowa or Linn County. The company has been fueling Iowa's economic growth since 1999, investing approximately $2.8 billion in the state’s economy. They have a proven track record of partnering with communities across the state and are looking to continue that investment in Linn County.
Iowa’s economy would greatly benefit if it could rely on more renewable energy production. In a local and state economy recuperating from over a year of businesses closing and financial hardships due to the pandemic, innovative projects like Duane Arnold Solar can have a transformative effect on our communities. It’s time to harvest a new, sustainable crop in solar energy for everyone’s benefit.
Ron Corbett is vice president of economic development for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
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