The State of Iowa is investing one million dollars in a public-private venture for a southeast Iowa company in hopes of creating new high-wage jobs. The money, in the form of a forgivable loan, will allow Roquette America to build a 50-megawatt electric plant at its corn-milling facility in Keokuk. State officials say the move will let the company retain 200 jobs and create 54 new jobs. Alliant Energy currently supplies power to the plant and had to give permission for the project. Alliant spokesman John Ruff says it’s a good thing.He says the Roquett electric plant will free up energy that Alliant can use to meet a growing need from other customers, without having to build its own new power plant. Ruff says a proposed second phase of the project would expand the energy producing capacity of the new Roquett plant. Ruff says that would require a change in the law that sets a maximum level of energy private companies need to produce. Ruff says Alliant supports the change.He says they understand that a change in the law would bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into the energy industry and more jobs for the state. Ruff says more businesses like Roquette may consider building their own power sources.He says Alliant sees a trend toward “distributive generation” or building power plants closer to the end user to cut down on distribution problems. Ruff says Alliant may lose a large customer in the short term, but they’ll gain many smaller customers in new businesses and new homeowners.
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