Generating station in Lansing to be shut down by the end of 2022 as part of Alliant Energy’s Iowa Clean Energy Blueprint


Scheduled to be retired by the end of 2022 ... The Alliant Energy Lansing Generating Station located just to the south of Lansing off Great River Road (County Road X52) is scheduled to be retired from operation by the end of year 2022 as part of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa. The Lansing facility has been in operation since 1948 and currently employs 26 people. Standard photo by Robin Johnson.

Thursday morning, October 29, Alliant Energy released its Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa, a path for accelerating the company’s transition to cleaner energy for customers. As part of that plan, it was also announced that Alliant’s Generating Station in Lansing will be retired from operation by the end of the year 2022 as part of changes to two of Alliant’s current coal-burning facilities, among other changes throughout the company.

In a news release to media Thursday morning, Alliant Energy outlined that the retirement of the Lansing facility that has been in operation for 72 years involved several factors: “With an eye toward contributing to a healthier environment, Alliant Energy plans to retire its 275 MW coal-fired Generating Station in Lansing by the end of 2022; final timing is subject to the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.) retirement process,” the release explained. “This retirement allows the company to avoid significant investments that would otherwise be required to comply with changing environmental regulations. In addition, this action positions Alliant Energy to achieve their recently updated goals of 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and elimination of all coal from their generation fleet by 2040.”

In a follow-up telephone call, Alliant Energy spokesperson Mike Wagner said avoiding the cost of those upgrades, along with continued operating and maintenance costs, would calculate out to an estimated savings of $150 million for Alliant Energy customers. He said the Lansing plant currently employs 26 people, all of whom were informed of the plant retirement early that same Thursday morning. Wagner said that about half of those more than two dozen employees are eligible for retirement themselves.

ADDITIONAL CHANGES
Under its new Clean Energy Blueprint, Alliant Energy will also transition its Burlington Generating Station from coal to natural gas in 2021. This action ensures the company maintains a diversified energy mix providing energy availability and reliability that complements its wind and solar energy generation. Once complete, the Burlington facility will use less water and have significantly reduced carbon emissions.

“For decades, our employees have done an outstanding job maintaining and operating our coal-fired power plants to deliver affordable and reliable energy for Iowans,” said Terry Kouba, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company. “As we transition from coal toward a cleaner energy mix, our top priorities include caring for our employees, creating new local jobs and bringing new economic development opportunities to the communities we serve.”

Throughout the transition at both coal-fired power plants in Lansing and Burlington, Alliant Energy says it will provide career assistance to employees who are interested. This includes one-on-one coaching, tuition reimbursement and other resources geared toward the individual and unique needs of each employee.

In addition to caring for employees, Alliant Energy says it will work with the communities of Burlington and Lansing on the upcoming transitions. The company will also work closely with city and community leaders in Lansing to determine the best use of the site along with ways to continue supporting the economic health of the community.

“There are currently no plans for what will be done with the Lansing facility once it is retired,” Wagner explained. “We will be working with the city, the county and the school district to determine what the best use for the facility might be. Perhaps it fits someone’s needs to move into as is, or maybe it can be transitioned to some other use.

That will be determined as we work through this facility retirement process.”

LOCAL IMPACT
Although located closely to the Lansing community, Lansing Mayor Kyle Walleser said the closure of the Lansing Generating Station will likely have the least economic impact on the City of Lansing itself, in comparison to neighboring rural townships. Still, he notes the impact on the facility’s employees is foremost in his mind following the Thursday morning announcement.

“I feel terrible for the employees and their families most directly impacted by this decision,” Walleser said. “This will certainly be a life-changing event for them. About the only upside to it is the fact that the decision has been made to not close it down until 2022, because in some of our original conversations, they had talked about as early as 2021. We knew it was coming at some point in the near future, but it will still be a change we’ll need to adjust to.”

As for the financial impact on the City of Lansing, Walleser notes that will remain to be seen. “We likely won’t know the true impact for the City’s tax rolls until 2023 and beyond,” he said. “Based on the presentation we sat through with Alliant earlier, the City itself sits pretty low on the list of financial impact.”

During the summer of this year amid announcements of job cuts at the Lansing Generating Station, Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier shared insight into the impact of closure of the Lansing facility on the school district. The most pertinent points of his shared information follow:

“If Alliant Energy closed it would not affect the operations of the school, and it would not cause the Eastern Allamakee School District to close. This is because the amount of Iowa school district revenue a school district gets is based solely on enrollment, not property valuation.

“The Iowa school equalization formula, which generates state aid, would cause the revenue we lose in the general fund from Alliant to be replaced. The school would lose no money in the general operating fund. Eastern Allamakee currently has a strong unspent balance, we have maintained our solvency, and there is no reason to panic.

We must continue to be diligent and continue to find creative ways to maximize our resources.”

It is the county level of taxation that is expected to see the greatest impact of the Lansing Generating Station closure. At the Monday, November 2 Allamakee County Board of Supervisors meeting, Allamakee County Economic Development and Tourism Executive Director Val Reinke advised that she has been working with a number of people to determine what the ultimate impact will be, with more discussions anticipated in regard to that impact and the future possibilities for the generating station site near Lansing. Board of Supervisors Chairperson Larry Schellhammer advised that a date of April of 2022 had been relayed to him in regard to the closure.

ADDITIONAL BLUEPRINT DETAILS
The Clean Energy Blueprint is part of the company’s Powering What’s Next plan, which is guided by their Clean Energy Vision and purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities. Together, the near-term investments in the projects outlined in the Blueprint will help Iowa customers avoid more than $300 million in costs over the next 35 years.

“We continue to lead the way toward a clean energy future for our customers,” said Alliant Energy Chairman, President and CEO John Larsen. “Investing in renewable energy, like wind and solar, benefits our customers, the communities we serve and the environment. Our Clean Energy Blueprint serves as a roadmap that creates new jobs for Iowans and revenue opportunities for communities around the state, while we also provide reliable, sustainable energy solutions for decades to come.”

A key part of Alliant’s Clean Energy Blueprint, which aligns with changing consumer preferences for more renewable energy, includes adding up to 400 megawatts (MW) of solar by 2023. Near-term investment in renewables creates long-term savings for customers. When the 400 MW of solar is combined with the nearly 1,300 MW of owned-and-operated wind and the power generated by the company’s existing solar farms in Dubuque, Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids, as well as other renewable sources, nearly 50 percent of Alliant Energy’s Iowa generation portfolio will be from renewables.

As part of its Blueprint, Alliant Energy is also exploring how battery storage can enhance reliability and expects to add up to 100 MW of distributed energy resources (such as community solar and energy storage systems) by 2026. When used in conjunction with solar generation, battery storage serves as a “renewable electron bank” designed to store excess power that’s generated when the sun is most powerful and then release the energy, as needed.

“We are exploring battery storage as a cost-effective alternative that meets our customer’s energy needs while also creating a connected energy network that fully realizes the value of combining these resources,” added Kouba.

Just last week, the company announced its Marshalltown battery is in operation. This follows the battery installation near Wellman late last year and the co-installation of battery-storage that’s underway in Decorah, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The company is seamlessly connecting customer-owned solar while maintaining reliable electrical service across the community.

The Blueprint also includes a focus on offering energy efficiency programs to help customers manage long-term costs. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com/cleanenergyblueprint.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet