Alliant Energy today announced it has secured land in north-central Iowa for a new wind farm. The site is in Franklin County near Hampton, just west of Interstate 35. The new wind operation will have approximately 130 turbines to produce electricity and Alliant officials expect to employ 30 or 40 as a result of the expansion.
Tom Aller, the president of Alliant’s Interstate Power and Light subsidiary which is developing the farm, says the company plans to spend $400 million to add the farm which has the potential to produce up to 200 megawatts of power by 2010.
Aller says the site provides a “significant economic development opportunity for our company and the state of Iowa.” He says wind generation is critical to the company’s long term energy strategy.
Aller was asked if the company will seek a rate increase to pay for the wind operation. According to Aller, since Interstate Power and the other companies merged together in 1998 under Alliant, they have had one rate increase request –back in 2003. Aller says there haven’t been any rate requests since, and when the company took a $70 million hit from the ice storms earlier this year, Alliant officials told customers they wouldn’t rule out a rate increase request, but they don’t plan any.
Governor Chet Culver was on hand for the announcement which he says goes along with the goal to make Iowa the leading state for renewable energy. “The beneficiary of all this will be the people of Iowa, because at the same time we’re going to be creating jobs, economic development,” Culver said. “$400 million in this one particular project — we’re talking about potentially billions more in job creation, economic development related efforts, just tied to wind.”