July 10, 2014

Alliant agrees to conditions set for new electric plant in Marshalltown

Alliant Energy has filed a notice accepting the proposed decision issued by the Iowa Utilities Board setting the parameters for building a new gas-fired electric plant in Marshalltown.

Alliant spokesman, Ryan Stensland says the company reviewed the board order issued on November eighth, and decided to continue forward. “We still have to go through a potential appeals process if any other party would appeal a portion or all of the decision from the utilities board,” Stensland says. “But on our end, it is something that we think makes sense for our customers and for our company, and we’re looking forward to getting the rest of the permits and sinking steel.”

The company has been working on the plans for the plant as it waited for the decision from the Utilities Board. “We are a little over halfway there on the permitting side. We needed between 15 and 20 permits — we’ve got seven left to go. We’ve got several local permits that we need to receive,” according to Stensland.

One of the biggest remaining hurdles is an air permit from the DNR. “We anticipate sometime in the first half of next year we’ll get a decision on that — and hopefully a permit — and once we have all those permits in hand, expect to begin construction sometime in the latter half of 2014, with commercial operation date sometime in the second quarter of 2017,”Stensland says.

It has been many years since Alliant built a new plant. “It’s been about a decade, we attempted to build the Sutherland station and that did not work out, and we are going forward with the gas plant,” Stensland says. The proposed Sutherland plant in Marshalltown would have been coal-fired and plans were eventually stalled over environmental concerns.

The company plans to retire some plants if the new Marshalltown plant proceeds as expected. “We’ve had some older, smaller coal-fired power plants — we’ve fuel switched a couple of them — including the units there in Marshalltown at the Sutherland facility. We intend to retire those about the time the plant comes on-line,” Stensland explains. “And then we also have some other facilities — Dubuque and Fox Lake, up in Minnesota — that we indicated that we’d be retiring at some point in the future as well.”

The IUB order sets the cap at the new Marshalltown plant at $920-million. Stensland says they expect to create 250 to 300 jobs to build the plant.