Learn how we’re evolving our energy mix for the future.
We are excited about the many positive impacts the transition to clean energy will bring to our customers and communities – from avoiding long-term costs to growing the economy and improving the health of the environment. Here are answers to common questions, along with stories, information and news about our programs.
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about the Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint? Wondering if our investments will affect you? Find the answers to a wide range of common questions below – and if you don’t see the information you’re looking for, please send us your question. We’d be glad to help.
The Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint is our plan for accelerating our transition to produce more clean, renewable energy reliably, affordably and sustainably. Moving forward by expanding solar energy means reducing our long-term reliance on coal-powered generation. We’re estimating avoided costs of more than $2 billion over the next 35 years. Clean energy is cost-effective and will deliver sustainable benefits to Wisconsinites for decades to come.
It is a smart choice for our customers! There are several reasons we are accelerating our transition to solar now, including
- The declining costs to build solar
- The availability of favorable locations in Wisconsin, and
- Access to federal tax incentives.
As a result of work completed as part of our Wisconsin Clean Energy Blueprint, we know that by expanding our renewable resources now, we will be poised to thoughtfully transition our remaining coal plants, while continuing to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers.
In addition, the communities we serve will benefit from sustainable and innovative energy solutions now. Many large industrial customers and communities have their own corporate sustainability goals. Increasing renewable energy availability helps keep – and attract – businesses to the area and creates lower energy costs in the long run.
Yes. Solar and wind complement each other. Both generate electricity without requiring the need to import fossil fuels. Wind is typically stronger at night while solar provides the most energy in the heat of the day. Dispersing the electricity they generate across the region increases overall reliability. We also have natural gas-fired power plants that can meet energy needs when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.
Our new solar investments will come into service between 2021 and 2023. The construction is timed to capture the benefits of solar investment tax credits and cost-effectively meet the energy needs of our customers.
Projected Megawatts (mw) over the next three years:
- 425 MW in 2022
- 575 MW in 2023
We recently announced our first 6 projects across Wisconsin.
|Grant County||200 megawatts||NextEra Energy Resources|
|Sheboygan County||150 megawatts||Ranger Power|
|Wood County||150 megawatts||Savion|
|Jefferson County||75 megawatts||Ranger Power|
|Rock County||50 megawatts||Geronimo Energy|
|Richland County||50 megawatts||Savion|
Investing in renewable energy generation now is more cost-effective for customers in the long term. With renewable energy, there are no fuel costs. They require less maintenance and labor. At the same time, it ensures ongoing safe and reliable delivery of the services customers count on most.
By investing in solar energy now, the long-term net result is more cost-effective for customers. Our plan is well-designed to reduce future costs of powering older coal facilities and aging distribution equipment. Solar and other clean energy resources are only part of the total cost of delivering energy. While clean energy resources will cost less in the long run, other costs will continue to fluctuate.
Investments are phased over time. Customers are likely to see an initial increase in their rates shortly after the new solar projects are fully operational. Over time, they’ll see lower costs than they would have compared to the cost of continuing to operate our coal generation. This is because solar energy has no associated fuel costs and has a lower cost to maintain and operate, lowering customer costs over time.
There will be some ongoing costs associated with retired coal plants. However, they will be lower in both the short- and long-term as our Clean Energy Blueprint helps customers avoid expenses and investments that would otherwise be required to keep these facilities operational.
The energy grid we’ve operated for more than a century was designed for large generating facilities delivering one-way energy to homes and businesses.
Today’s grid includes thousands of customer-owned solar and wind generating systems which requires two-way flow of electricity and information in order to provide customers more control of their energy use. The grid must be flexible and adaptable to accommodate new technologies, electric vehicles and the expanding array of interconnected web-enabled devices customers are using at ever-increasing levels — all while providing safe and reliable energy service to all customers.
Yes. In fact, upgrading our communications network with fiber allows us to create better, faster and stronger digital highways between our facilities. Just about everything connected to the energy grid will be digitally communicating with everything else, and it’s more data-intensive than ever before.
Moving power lines underground offers customers many benefits, including more reliability. When Mother Nature strikes, fallen trees, high winds and ice can damage the overhead power lines, creating outages. Once underground, the impact of weather is virtually eliminated, making power more reliable. In addition, once underground, the lines are more affordable to maintain over the long term.
Alliant Energy is committed to the communities it serves through economic development efforts and supporting community programs focused on education and family stability through our foundation giving and volunteer support.
We have multiple shovel-ready economic development parks in Wisconsin poised to bring new jobs and economic growth to many communities we serve. Providing more renewable energy to these communities helps attract new businesses, who also will benefit by lower-cost energy services.
We partner with customers and the communities we serve to help solve problems, create opportunities and help make life better through our grant and scholarship programs. We focus on supporting nonprofits and community partners in four major categories: helping families, education, the environment and safety initiatives. Visit alliantenergy.com/foundation for more information.
We’re always working to make our communities more sustainable. Whether we’re installing new electric vehicle charging stations or finding new life for historical facilities, it means a lot to us to know we’re generating a positive difference. Read on to see some examples of what we’re doing – and feel free to share if you like.
New fast electric vehicle charger boosts clean transportation
Our new Level 3 fast car charger in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, is an excellent example of how we can deliver a clean, reliable and renewable energy future for our customers and communities. As more drivers choose electric vehicles, the need for more – and faster – charging stations will grow rapidly.
Conveniently located at the Highway 33/Highway 151 interchange, this charging station serves one of the busiest intersections in the state. Level 3 chargers are also known as “superfast chargers.” They can recharge a fully depleted all-electric vehicle battery to 80% strength in about the time it takes to get a bite to eat.
Solar and battery pilot project saves dollars
Finding creative energy solutions for a customer was central to a project that was energized in January 2020, bringing power to a remote building near Sauk City, Wisconsin. The building is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The power line running to it needed to be rebuilt. The cost: $400,000. Our project team found that a combination of solar panels and battery storage could do the same thing. The cost: less than $200,000. Plus, we added a renewable energy option. Win-win!
Iowa wind farms boost local communities
By the end of 2020, we will have invested $2 billion in new wind farms located in Iowa. This includes several wind farms that we have put into service starting in 2009. They have the capacity to deliver nearly 1,500 megawatts of clean energy.
This expansion of wind energy also delivers strong economic benefits to local communities. Participating counties, communities and schools will receive up to $730 million in property taxes over 40 years. Landowners will receive approximately $342 million in lease payments over the same time.
Alliant Energy’s owned wind generation by end of 2020:
Economic Development team supports indoor ag operation
Our Economic Development team identified indoor agriculture as an industry that would most benefit our customers and communities. Their work, in partnership with local officials in Mason City, Iowa, helped bring Bushel Boy Farms to the city. The company is investing $35 million into a nearly 17-acre greenhouse with a 50,000-square-foot packing house that will employ 50 people. Local garden-fresh tomatoes will be available for Midwest customers year-round – even in the winter!
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 diverted from the landfill.
Beloit College student center emerges from repurposed coal plant
Our Blackhawk Generating Station building has transformed. It’s now a student union and recreation center for Beloit College. The $38-million Powerhouse project opened in early 2020. We retired the coal facility over a decade ago. Then, we worked closely with local officials and state and federal regulatory agencies to meet all environmental, health and safety requirements to properly reclaim the land. Finally, we turned over the structure to the college after they completed fundraising. The sustainable facility design incorporates historical plant features – including allowing visitors to peer into a 100-foot-tall smokestack. Collaboration was key for this successful revitalization project.
Battery modernizes rural energy grid
Our battery in Wellman, Iowa, is an energy management option that benefits everyone and doesn’t restrict local solar production. Numerous customers in the area installed their own solar panels and expanded the load on the system. Instead of upgrading lines and equipment to add capacity, the battery achieves the same result at half the cost. It acts as a buffer to stabilize power fluctuations as the sun’s intensity changes during the day. When this battery is fully charged, it’s also expected to store enough energy to power roughly 650 nearby homes for four hours.
In the news
We’re proud to share that our efforts to make our communities more sustainable have not gone unnoticed. See what news outlets are saying about the Clean Energy Blueprint.
Alliant Energy to retire Sheboygan coal generation facility, add six solar projects in Wisconsin
By the end of 2022, Alliant Energy intends to retire its coal-fired, Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, Wis., and, as part of a plan to install 1,000 megawatts of solar by 2023…
Read More at dailyenergyinsider.com
Alliant to buy six solar projects as part of 1,000-MW solar buildout
Houston — Alliant Energy said Tuesday it will buy six solar projects from four developers that will have combined capacity of 675 MW and be located in rural Wisconsin …
Read More at spglobal.com
More Solar Developments Shine a Light on Wisconsin’s Energy Future
GREEN BAY– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, released the following statement on Alliant Energy’s announcement of their intentions to build 675 megawatts (MW) of solar energy production …
Read More at legis.wisconsin.gov.
Alliant Energy announces six solar power projects
Alliant Energy announced plans to acquire and advance 675 megawatts of solar in mostly rural areas in six Wisconsin counties …
Read More at Wisconsin Ag Connection
WI: Alliant Energy Announces $900M Plan, Bringing 1,200 Construction Jobs
Madison-based Alliant Energy is announcing a $900 million plan to add 675 megawatts of solar across six counties …
Read More at tradeandindustrydev.com.
Alliant Energy announces six solar power projects
Alliant Energy announced planned investments in six solar projects that would make the utility the largest producer of solar power in the state.
Read More at newsedge.com
Alliant announces plan for 1 GR of Solar in Wisconsin
Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy has announced a plan to add 1 GW of solar power generation to its portfolio by 2023. The company on Oct. 31 in its…
Read More at powermag.com