29 Mar Alliant to add 100 megawatts of wind power by 2005, raise gas prices
MADISON – Wisconsin Power and Light Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, announced Friday that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission had granted its request to raise rates for fuel-based electric service by 2 percent per year on an interim basis, effective immediately. The commission is expected to hold a public hearing before issuing its final decision on the fuel-only rate.
“Fuel and purchased power costs have become much more volatile in recent years,” WP&L President Barbara Swan said.
In addition, the company confirmed Thursday it will add 100 megawatts of wind generation in Wisconsin by 2005. WP&L will accept proposals from bidders for 10 to 100 MW wind generation in one or more locations in Wisconsin, which would stay in place for at least 15 years.
Alliant Energy produced 5.4 percent of the nation’s wind power in 2003. Its move toward more wind power would supplement its other forms of energy production as part of plans it announced last year to add 615 megawatts in the state through 2010. This includes 300 megawatts of natural gas simple-cycle generation, 200 megawatts of coal power, and 15 megawatts of anaerobic digesters.
The wind generation is intended to complement the natural gas plant proposed for Sheboygan Falls, according to Kim Zuhlke, Alliant’s vice president of new energy resources.
“By deploying wind and simple-cycle natural gas generation, we achieve the best of both worlds,” Zuhlke said. “Whenever the wind is blowing, we can use this virtually no-cost fuel source with the confidence that we have the capacity available to meet our customers’ energy needs when the wind subsides.”
Before the wind-power project goes forward, Alliant is working with federal legislators to renew the Production Tax Credit law, which provided a tax incentive for companies to produce more clean energy but expired Dec. 31, 2003. Without this law, Zuhlke said, the move to more wind power would not be as economically feasible.
“We are working closely with our federal elected officials to ensure the renewable energy production tax credit is extended so this project can move forward,” said Zuhlke. “Senator Grassley has been a key supporter of the PTC and we are confident that, with his leadership, we can proceed and have this project in place in 2005.”