August 8, 2011
Statement of Michael Vickerman
Executive Director – RENEW Wisconsin on
Alliant’s Iowa Wind Energy Project
Alliant Energy, parent company of Wisconsin Power and Light, disclosed its intention last week to build a 100-megawatt wind energy facility in Franklin County, Iowa, and place it in service before December 2012. For the moment at least, the costs of this investment will not be borne by Alliant’s Iowa or Wisconsin ratepayers, but rather the parent company’s shareholders.
Moving forward now on this project locks in the favorable pricing terms for the wind turbines that Alliant had negotiated several years ago with Vestas, a Danish turbine manufacturer with a plant in Colorado.
We at RENEW support Alliant’s renewable energy venture so long as it operates as either a merchant plant, selling the electricity into the Midwest wholesale market, or a dedicated source of renewable electricity serving Alliant’s Iowa ratepayers.
However, RENEW firmly believes that utility-owned generating assets should be located in the same state where the ratepayers who are underwriting the project reside. In other words, if there comes a time when Alliant needs a new wind project to meet its Wisconsin renewable energy requirements, it should either build that installation in Wisconsin or purchase electricity from a new nonutility-owned installation located in Wisconsin.
There is a fully permitted wind project in Alliant’s Wisconsin territory that is ready to serve Wisconsin Power and Light customers. Located in Lafayette County, the Quilt Block project, developed by EDP Renewables, an independent wind developer, is licensed to be a 99-megawatt facility that could be operational before the end of 2012. The economic benefits to Lafayette County and Wisconsin as a whole from pursuing local wind projects like Quilt Block far exceed what can be obtained from more distant sources of renewable electricity.