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Alliant nixes plan for Marshalltown coal plant
Plans for a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown have been canceled because of current economic conditions and increasing environmental, legislative and regulatory uncertainty, according to information from Alliant Energy, the company that would have operated the plant.
“Our company and our partners appreciate the tremendous support demonstrated for this project by our labor partners, industry, agriculture and business leaders, the community of Marshalltown and economic development organizations across the state,” Tom Aller, president of Alliant subsidiary Interstate Power and Light Company, said in a prepared statement. “While our company is disappointed in this missed opportunity to further Iowa’s efforts to grow its economy and position our state as a leader in renewable energy, we will continue to focus our efforts on expanding our renewable energy resources and energy efficiency initiatives and reducing our environmental impact.”
Interstate Power had taken the lead on the proposed construction of Sutherland Generating State Unit 4 in Marshalltown. The project’s other partners were Central Iowa Power Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative and North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association.
A number of environmental groups, which had long opposed construction of the coal plant, considered today’s announcement a major victory, and were pleased to note the power companies’ commitment to renewable energy options.
“I applaud this decision made by Alliant Energy and also their commitment to move forward with their energy efficiency and renewable energy portfolios,” said Mike Carberry, director of environmental advocacy group Green State Solutions. “Moving towards a new green economy will be great for the overall economic recovery and create thousands of green collar jobs right here in Iowa.”
Mary McBee, one of more than 700 Iowans who wrote letters to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in opposition to the construction and a person who lives within 15 miles of the proposed site, was elated with the news.
“One thing I really liked about the press release that Alliant put out is that they really do seem to get that they are going to have to go towards renewables and energy efficiency, if they want to get the support of Iowans,” McBee said.
Executives of the partner companies, however, are disappointed that the project has been canceled and expressed concerns about being able to provide for future energy needs.
“Today’s decision is not in the best interest of our cooperative or our state, but it is the hand we were dealt,” Dennis Murdock, executive vice president of Central Iowa Power Cooperative, said. “CIPCO was committed to the Sutherland project as a solution to providing an affordable and reliable supply of electricity with a renewable component. While the economic slowdown has dampened short-term forecasts for energy growth, we still have a need for baseload electric generation to serve our members. We will continue to pursue other opportunities to meet the growing needs of our members to foster economic growth and job creation.”
Ken Kuyper, executive vice president and general manager of Corn Belt Power Cooperative, added, “It’s regrettable that this plant won’t be built. This new source of generation was an important part of our plan for meeting the growing demand for electricity from the people of rural Iowa. Corn Belt Power will work to determine the next best alternative to the Sutherland plant. We will continue to do everything we can to meet our co-op members’ need for reliable and affordable power.”
As a result of the decision to cancel the new unit in Marshalltown, Alliant Energy expects its capital expenditure forecast to decrease by $205 million in 2009, $455 million in 2010 and $285 million in 2011 in relation to levels disclosed to the Securities and Exchance Commission in late February.