Alliant Energy announces ‘smart investment’ in 675MW of solar in Wisconsin

Alliant Energy is to acquire and advance 675MW of solar across Wisconsin, US, as the utility moves forwards with its Clean Energy Blueprint.

The sites sit across six rural areas of the state; Grant, Jefferson, Richland, Rock, Sheboygan and Wood. Together they will make the Wisconsin public utility the state’s largest owner-operator of solar.

The six sites will create more than 1,200 local constructions jobs, according to Alliant. Additionally, they will provide an estimated US$80 million in local tax revenues over 30 years once operational.

The projects represent the first phase in the company’s plan to add 1GW of new PV capacity within the state by the end of 2023. This forms part of Alliant’s “Powering What’s Next” strategy, a long-term plan to accelerate the transition of renewable energy in The Badger State announced in November 2019.

This week, Alliant will submit a Certificate of Authority application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to acquire these projects, with a final decision expected in the first half of 2021.

Solar energy is a “smart investment” for customers in Wisconsin according to David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company.

“At a time when much is changing, these projects will provide steady revenue to Wisconsin communities, create new construction, operation and maintenance jobs, and provide our customers with reliable and sustainable energy for years to come. Along with the rest of the Clean Energy Blueprint, these projects will help customers avoid more than $2 billion in long-term costs.”

Beyond solar, the company’s “Powering What’s Next” project will allow consumers to choose 100% renewable energy, and there will be a customer-hosted, utility-owned solar panel program for medium-sized projects of ~200kw.

Alliant’s focus on solar energy comes after the Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers signed Executive Order 38 in August 2019. This motion will create an Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy within the state, from which a task force can help drive Wisconsin towards its 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.