Different roles, common ground

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 3 2014 | 12:01 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:03 am in
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By Doug Kopp

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As Alliant Energy’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs, I was eager to accept a recent invitation to represent our Iowa utility in a meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency at the Iowa Utilities Board in Des Moines.

The EPA works for the public interest by protecting human health and preserving our environment.

Utilities like Alliant Energy are required by law to provide power to every customer in a defined territory, and to do so reliably and at a reasonable cost. The EPA is considering new regulations on reductions in emissions from existing power plants. The discussion held at the IUB was an opportunity for the agency to solicit input as they develop these new regulations.

Our company understands that our customers are concerned not only about energy costs, but also about the health of our environment. That’s why Alliant Energy, led by our CEO Patricia Kampling, has developed a long-term plan to meet the energy demands of our customers, use a cost-effective mix of energy sources and make our fleet more efficient and environmentally friendly.

In my role, I am focused on supporting our customers’ energy-efficiency efforts, improving air quality and ensuring a responsible mix of fuel and renewable power sources.

Our work includes fuel-switching, plant retirements and the installation of air-quality control systems. Between 2011 and 2016 alone, we estimate that mercury will be reduced by more than 80 percent, sulfur dioxide by more than 70 percent, filterable particulate matter by about 30 percent and nitrogen oxide by more than 20 percent.

Our customers also are helping us achieve our environmental goals.

Through our energy-efficiency programs, customers help the environment while also saving money on their energy bills. More than 550 Alliant Energy electric utility customers in Iowa and Minnesota have installed renewable systems at their home or business, a 300 percent increase since 2010.

Their efforts are matched by our long-standing investments in wind power. We were one of the first utilities to purchase power from wind turbines in Iowa, and we now also own our own farms in the state.

Like the EPA, we’re planning for the future and taking actions to protect the environment while still delivering safe, reliable power at a reasonable cost.

We look forward to continuing our discussion with the EPA and other regulators to find common ground and solutions that benefit everyone.

Doug Kopp is Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Alliant Energy. Comments: news@alliantenergy.com

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