Optimistic about Iowa's future

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: August 21 2012 | 12:01 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 11:15 pm in
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By Tom Aller

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Recently, our company, Interstate Power and Light Company, an Alliant Energy company, announced a long-term plan to meet the energy demands of our customers, maintain the most cost-effective mix of energy sources, make our fleet more efficient and invest heavily in Iowa. It’s a bold plan, a big step for us. I think it is important to share our thinking and perspective.

We have been developing this plan for more than a year. We’ve done our homework and considered all of our options. We requested bids, monitored pricing and forecasts of fuel costs, sought out the latest technology to make our plants run cleaner, and negotiated extensively with our partners and vendors before presenting this plan to the public. The plan has four main components.

First, we negotiated an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to continue to buy power from the Duane Arnold Energy Center, a nuclear generating station in Palo. The agreement will help protect the jobs of our friends in Palo and continues our commitment to a diverse mix of fuel sources for our power, which protects our customers from price spikes in any one fuel source.

Next, we need to expand our capacity for generating power. That’s why we would like to build a $700 million gas-fired generator in Marshalltown. We have an excellent team in place in our Marshalltown facility, a great relationship with the community, and we couldn’t find a better place to invest. Using gas as our fuel source provides a cleaner source of fuel at a reasonable price.

Third, we will continue to invest in existing generating units to make them run cleaner. It is important to constantly improve emissions and be ready for changes in environmental regulations.

Finally, we will continue to build on our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

We are optimistic about Iowa’s long-term future and want to be part of it. Iowa is a great place to do business. We have a rebounding economy that weathered the financial storms of 2008 better than most and has beaten the national trends in unemployment and growth. We serve customers and communities that are vibrant and focused on making Iowa even better.

We have a great team of people who can execute our plan. We have smart, hardworking employees who make our system reliable, even when Mother Nature tests our mettle.

We are committed to Iowa and will show it by our investments. And we look forward to growing together with our customers and communities.

Tom Aller is president of Interstate Power and Light Company, an Alliant Energy company, with 525,000 natural gas and electric customers in Minnesota and Iowa. Comments: alliantenergynews@alliantenergy.com).

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