By John Larsen, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility
The energy industry is evolving. Alliant Energy is embracing this transformation—which includes changing customer expectations—with a move toward cleaner, more efficient generation.
Right now, a critical piece of our long-term plan is our proposal to modernize the Riverside Energy Center in Rock County. Once complete, this state-of-the-art facility, fueled by natural gas, will be the most advanced in the state and replace several aging, less efficient facilities in our system.
Combined-cycle, natural-gas generating facilities like the one we’re proposing are transforming power generation across the country because they’re efficient, save on fuel, and reduce emissions. According to SNL Financial, natural gas combined-cycle plants accounted for 26 percent of U.S. electricity generated from January through August 2015.
The addition of the modernized Riverside Energy Center will help lower energy costs in Alliant Energy’s service area and reduce overall energy prices across the state. On average, Riverside will be 40 percent more efficient than existing power generation in Wisconsin. These are some of the benefits that several customers, business partners and community leaders highlighted recently in their remarks of support to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
The Riverside modernization will also be one of the largest economic development projects in Wisconsin, creating more than 1,000 jobs during each of the two-and-a-half years of construction, approximately 50 permanent positions and more than $250 million in total economic benefits. While the benefits will be far-reaching, the project will be a boost to the local community in particular, where we have proudly served for nearly a century.
Upgrading Riverside is a crucial step in our effort to develop a truly modern power generation system over the long-term. We have an excellent track record of developing these plans, executing on them, and most importantly, keeping rates low for our customers and communities.
At Alliant Energy, we are planning for the future to ensure that the millions of homes and businesses that depend on us each day can continue to count on reliable, low cost energy for decades to come.