Alliant moving ahead with plans for gas plant, wind generation

Alliant Energy (NYSE: LNT) subsidiary Interstate Power and Light (IPL) held a public meeting Oct. 4 to discuss its plans for a 650-MW gas-fired power plant in Marshalltown, Iowa.

During the meeting, several local officials hailed the proposed power plant as an important development for the local economy, according to an Oct. 5 article in the Times-Republican, a Central Iowa newspaper.

In the spring of 2009, Alliant abandoned plans to develop a new, large coal-fired power plant at Marshalltown.

Like many other power generators, Alliant is retiring or retrofitting some of its old capacity at its utilities – IPL and Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL).

IPL will be filing for advanced rate-making and site approval for the project during the fourth quarter of the year, IPL said. The request will be filed under Iowa House File 577, Alliant CEO Pat Kampling said in a recent presentation to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference in New York.

The company announced plans for the project this summer. It is expected to be in-service no earlier than 2017.

The utility expects the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) approval about 12 months after filing the air permit application and pipeline approval within six months after that, an Alliant official has said.

IPL has estimated that the cost of the natural gas power plant is expected to be in the neighborhood of $700m. This spring, Alliant won regulatory approval to buy the Calpine (NYSE: CPN) Riverside gas plant in Wisconsin.

In addition to seeking approval for the combined-cycle gas plant, the Alliant official also told the Wall Street crowd that construction is going well for the non-utility Franklin County wind project.

The 100-MW Franklin County wind project near Whispering Willow is under construction and expected to enter service by the end of 2012, Alliant officials said. Cost of the project, including transmission upgrades, is expected to be $235m. A non-regulated branch of Alliant broke ground on the wind project in the summer of 2011. The wind project aims to sell power through a long-term contract with the Midwest ISO.

Meanwhile, Alliant is moving forward with a number of environmental retrofits at its coal-fired fleet.

In July, the Wisconsin utility filed for construction authorization for the Edgewater 5 scrubber and baghouse projects.

Emission control projects are also under construction at Edgewater 5 (selective catalytic reduction), Columbia (baghouse and scrubber), Ottumwa (baghouse and scrubber) and Neal (baghouse, selective non-catalytic reduction project and scrubber), according to Alliant.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.