October 29, 2020
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Iowa Environmental Council join together in applauding today’s announcement of a plan to eliminate 487MW of coal-generated power in Iowa.
Alliant Energy announced today it will shutter its Lansing Generating Station by the end of 2022 and convert its Burlington plant to natural gas by next year. Alliant plans to replace that power with the construction of 400MW of utility-scale solar by 2023 and 100MW of distributed generation, or smaller-scale solar and battery storage, by 2026.
“As Iowans, and the nation, begin to engage in the real and urgent discussions on how to move away from carbon-based energy, we are celebrating the news that we will enjoy cleaner, healthier air and water with these generation changes,” said Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director for the Iowa Environmental Council.
“Iowa has been a leader in clean energy. Retiring dirty, expensive coal will keep moving us that direction.”
ELPC and IEC have long called for the closure of coal plants in Iowa to protect the public health and environmental interests of its residents. In 2019, the organizations intervened in Alliant’s rate case before the Iowa Utilities Board. The company sought to increase rates by as much as $20 per month for some customers. ELPC and IEC argued that customers should not pay increased rates so the utility could keep running its dirty, expensive coal plants instead of moving to renewable energy. While many states have a transparent and robust resource planning process, Iowa code does not require any resource planning at all. The IUB approved a rate case settlement that required Alliant to complete an analysis of the economics of its coal plants. Parties to the rate case were required to be allowed to participate, including IEC and ELPC.
“Uneconomic coal plants are in nobody’s interest,” said Environmental Law and Policy Center Senior Attorney Josh Mandelbaum. “The voluntary resource planning process we agreed to last year in our rate case settlement with IPL is a step forward for the state, and we are seeing the benefits of that process. Retiring the uneconomic Lansing plant and the commitment to adding solar will benefit consumers and the environment.”
“We have been pleased to see our work as a stakeholder in Alliant Energy’s analysis come to this positive result,” said Michael Schmidt, Staff Attorney with the Iowa Environmental Council. “We look forward to continuing to act as a partner, watchdog, and driver in Iowa’s transition to 100% clean energy.”
The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy organization. We develop strategic campaigns to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality. Our multi-disciplinary staff employs teamwork approaches using legal, economic, and public policy tools to produce successes that improve our environment and economy. Learn more at www.elpc.org.
The Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) is an alliance of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa’s natural environment. Founded in 1995, it is the largest and most comprehensive environmental coalition in the state. Through education, advocacy and coalition building, the Council raises awareness, generates action and creates large-scale change that makes Iowa a better place to live, work and explore. Learn more at iaenvironment.org.