The Clean Energy Blueprint is our roadmap for accelerating our transition to cleaner, renewable energy in Wisconsin. This roadmap guides our efforts to enhance the economic and environmental health of the communities we serve. This includes increasing our use of renewable resources and provides direction for the future of our coal-fired generation.
We are adding at least 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar generation in Wisconsin by the end of 2023.
We detailed the first phase of our plan in May: Six new utility-scale solar projects that will create 675 MW of solar energy. Located in mostly rural areas of Grant, Jefferson, Richland, Rock, Sheboygan and Wood counties, collectively these projects will create more than 1,200 local construction jobs. Once operational, they will provide an estimated $80 million in local tax revenues over the next 30 years. Click for project-specific details.
Planning is underway to reach the 1,000 MW milestone. Already, we have announced intentions to acquire projects in Dodge, Green and Rock counties. In the coming months, we’ll provide details on our plans to fully achieve the milestone as we accelerate our transition to delivering cleaner energy for customers.
We also have several existing Wisconsin solar facilities and are planning more for specific customers and communities. Our company has solar generation in Madison and Beloit with plans to build a community solar project in Fond du Lac and a customer-hosted solar project in Sheboygan.
Retirement of coal-fired facilities
With an eye toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions and delivering cleaner, more cost-effective energy, Alliant Energy is working toward eliminating all coal from our generation fleet by 2040. It’s part of our Clean Energy Vision.
The company is on its way to achieving this goal. In February 2021, Alliant Energy announced plans to retire the coal-fired Columbia Energy Center in Columbia County. The facility has two units and intends to retire the first unit by the end of 2023 and the second unit by the end of 2024. This news follows the May 2020 announcement detailing plans to retire the Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan by the end of 2022.
As we transition from coal to cleaner energy, we remain focused on caring for our customers and employees. We are focusing on creating new jobs and bringing new economic development opportunities to the communities. We will provide career assistance to employees who are interested, including one-on-one coaching, tuition reimbursement and other resources geared toward the individual and unique needs of each employee.
In Columbia and Sheboygan counties, Alliant Energy is working closely with community leaders to determine the best use of the sites along with ways to continue supporting the economic health of the communities. In Columbia County, a thorough analysis of the site and potential opportunities will be evaluated along with the potential for engaging an urban planning firm, similar to work underway in Sheboygan where Alliant Energy has engaged Vandewalle & Associates(V&A). A Wisconsin-based urban planning and economic redevelopment firm, V&A has a long-standing history of working on major projects in the Sheboygan region. They also have extensive experience transforming waterfronts, decommissioning and repurposing large industrial sites. While the planning and site redevelopment for this location is expected to be a multi-year process, the company will provide several opportunities for input. Click for an update and to share your thoughts.
Everything we are doing is about staying true to our purpose-driven strategy: Supporting customers and building strong communities.
West Riverside Energy Center
In May 2020, customers started receiving energy from our new natural gas generating station – West Riverside Energy Center, located near Beloit.
The facility can produce enough power for more than 550,000 homes.
The generation station’s combined-cycle technology allows it to adjust its power output up and down quickly to complement our wind and solar generation. In fact, a solar facility on land adjacent to the West Riverside Energy Center is expected to be fully operational in spring 2021. The 4-MC AC solar field will offset auxiliary power at the natural gas plant and increase sustainability and efficiency.
Wind is a clean source of energy and a key part of our diversified energy mix.
With wind having no associated fuel costs, our investment in this renewable resource provides long-term savings for our customers.
In October 2020, the Kossuth Wind Farm became operational. This is a 150-MW wind farm located in Kossuth County, Iowa. Located in north-central Iowa, an area with consistently strong wind resources, the Kossuth Wind Farm can generate enough energy for 57,000 homes.
In early April 2018, we also finalized our acquisition of a 55-MW ownership interest in the Forward Wind Energy Center near Brownsville, Wisconsin. Both of these projects add to our existing fleet of two other wind farms serving Wisconsin customers: Cedar Ridge and Bent Tree.
Alliant Energy is now the third-largest utility owner-operator of regulated wind in the United States.
Our renewable sites
Curious to see where the transition to renewable energy is positively impacting the communities we serve? Explore this map of planned Alliant Energy solar facilities that are part of our Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint as well as our two operating wind farms in the state. (Locations are approximate.)