Better security, faster response and better clean energy integration
(Added Q1 2021)
We will soon complete a fiber telecommunications network to transmit and handle increasing amounts of customer energy-related data. Sensors, smart meters, fault interrupters and other digital devices transform how customers receive, use and generate energy.
When our fiber telecommunications network is complete, we expect it to make our systems more resilient by delivering:
- Better grid management – stronger connections between digital grid devices.
- Better security – greater resistance to hackers or sabotage.
- Better integration of alternative energy – smoother integration of distributed energy generation.
- Better information integrity – faster, safer and more secure data transmission.
- Better cost-effectiveness – safeguards against future fiber lease price increases
- Better efficiency – requires less energy to operate
- Better reliability – more durable lasting far longer than traditional wire
Planned coal retirements advance progress on our goal to be coal-free by 2040
(Added Q1 2021)
As part of our Clean Energy Blueprint, we announced plans to retire three coal-fired generation facilities. Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Lansing Generating Station located near Lansing, Iowa, will both be retired by the end of 2022. Columbia Energy Center near Portage, Wisconsin, is scheduled for retirement by the end of 2024. We also plan to fuel switch our Burlington Generating Station in Iowa from coal to natural gas by the end of 2021.
Retiring these facilities by the end of 2024 positions us to achieve our Clean Energy Vision, including a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and eliminating all coal from our generation fleet by 2040. Closing our coal-fired generation and replacing it with renewable resources means customers also avoid significant future costs.
Helping restoration efforts in Mississippi and Oklahoma
(Added Q1 2021)
In the fall of 2020, following the devastation of Hurricane Zeta and historic ice storms, nearly 200 of our employees from Iowa and Wisconsin worked to get the lights back on in Mississippi and Oklahoma. Just as power companies from around the country came to our aid following the derecho a few months earlier, we joined a restoration effort in hard-hit communities.
Altogether, Hurricane Zeta and the ice storms left more than 3.5 million customers without power. After 10 days aiding our neighbors to the south, our crews headed back to Iowa and Wisconsin. Our voluntary partnership with other utility companies in mutual assistance programs swiftly, safely and efficiently restores essential services to all local communities when they need it most.
New logistics park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa coming soon
(Added Q1 2021)
Travero, Alliant Energy’s logistics solutions company, is building Logistics Park Cedar Rapids (LPCR). The facility will sit on a 101-acre site just southwest of Cedar Rapids. It’s scheduled to open in September 2021. LPCR is constructed within Alliant Energy’s Big Cedar Industrial Center, Iowa’s first certified mega-site, which includes 1,391 acres of space available for development.
Once complete, the new park will offer logistics services that will allow industries throughout the Midwest to benefit from road and rail connections. These services include warehousing, efficient transfer of commodities between rail and truck, and customized options. Sustainability was a key component in the planning and construction of the park.
Power grid improvements benefit customers
We continue to transform our power grid into a digital system. This helps us deliver an ongoing two-way flow of electricity and information. We’ve initiated several pilot projects to test new technologies. These allow us to learn what works and what does not, in a cost-effective way.
These initiatives include putting power lines underground, installing smart devices and constructing a digital platform for electricity distribution.
- Greater power reliability
- Quicker system performance
- Cost-saving efficiencies
- Improved public safety
- More renewable connections
- Preserves natural resources
Partnership tests emergency response capabilities
We routinely conduct preparation drills and business continuity planning to ensure security, reliability and resiliency of the energy grid and our data systems. For example, several employees participated in GridEx V. The exercise simulated physical and cyberattacks on critical infrastructure across North America. GridEx V brought together energy companies, businesses, law enforcement and government agencies for two days in November 2019.
Envision™ is a rating system that provides guidance on planning, designing and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
The Envision™ framework measures sustainable efforts using a scorecard and verification process, which then applies credits/points using five key categories.
Our new natural gas-fueled West Riverside Energy Center (WREC) near Beloit, Wisconsin, received Envision™ Platinum recognition in April 2020. The Envision system rates the sustainability of infrastructure projects. It looks at a full range of environmental, social and economic impacts. The Platinum award is the highest Envision recognition.
The WREC was also recognized with a Recycling Excellence Award by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It was for development of a waste management and recycling program during construction. The program resulted in over 90% of the waste generated being been diverted from the landfill.
Digital fleet forms help support energy affordability
Our fleet forms have gone digital. We estimate this will reduce manual work and free up 325 labor hours annually. This time can be spent on other projects to serve our customers. We will also save dollars on postage and reduce paper use. Our team in Fleet Central has said goodbye to printed checklists and work orders. Now, they use the digital version on their tablet computers.