Alliant Energy cancels proposed Iowa plant

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted March 10, 2009, at 2:24 p.m. CST

Interstate Power and Light Co., a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corp., has cancelled plans to construct a proposed 649-megawatt Sutherland Generating Station Unit 4 in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Other partners of the project are Central Iowa Power Co-op., Corn Belt Power Co-op. and the North Iowa Municipal Electric Co-op. Association.

Alliant Energy said it intended to co-fire the plant with biomass, such as switchgrass or corn stover. The company anticipated it would burn an estimated 110,000 tons of biomass annually at the generating station, which equates to providing power to just under five percent of the 472,500 houses the facility would have had the capacity to power.

Alliant Energy said the decision was made because of a combination of factors including the current economic and financial climate, increasing environmental, legislative and regulatory uncertainty regarding regulation of future greenhouse gas emissions and the terms placed on the proposed power plant by regulators.

"Our company and our partners appreciate the tremendous support demonstrated for this project by our labor partners, industry, agriculture and business leaders, the community of Marshalltown and economic development organizations across the state," said Tom Aller, president of Interstate Power and Light.

The cancellation of the Marshalltown plant comes on the heels of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission denying Alliant Energy's proposal to expand its existing coal-fired Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville, Wis., which included the committal of utilizing up to 20 percent biomass. (Read "PSCW denies coal power plant proposal.")

"While our company is disappointed in this missed opportunity to further Iowa's efforts to grow its economy and position our state as a leader in renewable energy, we will continue to focus our efforts on expanding our renewable energy resources and energy efficiency initiatives and reducing our environmental impact," Aller said.