116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Our neighbor, Illinois, is planning to transition to zero carbon electricity generation. It is approaching it in a rational, scientific manner by examining several options and their long term effects. The University of Illinois has published the results of a techno-economic study, “Economic and Carbon Impacts of Potential Illinois Nuclear Plant Closures.” It examines 12 different scenarios for achieving carbon-free electrical power generation by 2030 and the impact on the state through 2050. The study found decarbonization in Illinois will require not only maintenance but expansion of nuclear energy capacity.
Two findings from the University of Illinois study stand out:
Without existing nuclear power, reaching zero carbon would require devoting about 6,200 square miles or 4 million acres of prime Illinois farm land to wind and solar energy.
To completely rely on wind and solar for electrical power would require “extraordinary, possibly infeasible, grid-scale battery storage capacity.”
Alliant tells us that it generates 46 percent of its electrical power from coal and natural gas, 21 percent from wind and 0.06 percent from solar. It buys 13 percent of it electrical power from wind producers, 13 percent from nuclear and 0.02 percent from solar. Does Alliant plan to replace 46 percent of its electrical generation with wind and solar? Without such a serious techno-economic study, we risk damaging Iowa’s economy while still not achieving the goal of carbon free electrical generation.