Business

Alliant Energy sets goals for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, no coal by 2040

Utility provider accomplishes 30 percent carbon-free goal 10 years early

Alliant planned to eliminate coal by 2050, but executives say they're operating 10 years ahead of schedule. Above, a mec
Alliant planned to eliminate coal by 2050, but executives say they’re operating 10 years ahead of schedule. Above, a mechanic replaces high-pressure sodium light with an LED light fixture in Cedar Rapids in this 2012 photo. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Alliant Energy is seeking to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, along with the elimination of coal from its facilities by 2040, the company announced Wednesday morning in its corporate responsibility report.

“It’s a big statement,” said Jeff Hanson, director of environmental services and corporate sustainability for Alliant.

It doesn’t necessarily mean Alliant is aiming to stop all use of fossil fuels by 2050, Hanson said.

“There still may be some fossil-based generation — natural gas generation most likely,” Hanson said. “But any CO2 emissions that are released by those sites would be offset.”

Alliant already has been reducing its coal footprint, announcing two months ago the closure of a coal plant in eastern Wisconsin.

The company previously planned to eliminate coal by 2050, but executives said they’re operating 10 years ahead of schedule.

“There’s a significant technological push happening in the carbon-free energy space,” Hanson said. “They’re coming, and they’re coming fast.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Alliant also accomplished its previous goal to have at least 30 percent of energy come from carbon-free renewable resources this year. The utility set the goal for 2030.

“But we’re not stopping there,” Hanson said. “We’re going to continue advancing and building up that percentage even more.”

James Gallegos, executive vice president of Alliant, said the low cost of renewable energy in Iowa and Wisconsin has driven the quicker-then-expected improvements.

Now, instead of reaching carbon-fuel reduction levels of 40 percent by 2030, the utility’s officials believe they will achieve a 50 percent drop by then.

The corporate responsibility report also highlights ways Alliant says it is making a social impact in Iowa and Wisconsin, which includes its partnership with United Way of Eastern Iowa.

Efforts to promote racial justice include lighting its building in the same colors it uses to honor Martin Luther King Jr. during peaceful protests and holding listening sessions to hear from employees of racial minorities.

The utility, with Iowa operations based in Cedar Rapids and Wisconsin operations based in Madison, has 970,000 electricity customers and 420,000 natural gas customers across the two states.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.