The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

August 27, 2012

Optimistic about Iowa's future

OTTUMWA — Recently, our company, Interstate Power and Light Company, an Alliant Energy company, announced our long-term plan to meet the energy demands of our customers, to maintain the most cost-effective mix of energy sources, to make our fleet more efficient and to invest heavily in the state of Iowa.

It’s a bold plan and a big step for us. Now, I think it is important to share with our customers, employees and the communities we touch our thinking and our perspective.

For us, the announcement was a single step in a long journey. We have been developing this plan for more than a year. We’ve done our homework and considered all of our options. We requested bids, monitored pricing and forecasts of fuel costs, sought out the latest technology to make our plants run cleaner and negotiated extensively with our partners and vendors before presenting this plan to the public.

The plan has four main components. First, we negotiated an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to continue to buy power from the Duane Arnold Energy Center, which is a nuclear generating station in Palo. The agreement will help protect the jobs of our friends in Palo and continues our commitment to a diverse mix of fuel sources for our power. Keeping a diverse mix of fuels protects our customers from price spikes in any individual fuel source.

Next, we need to expand our capacity for generating power. That’s why we would like to build a $700 million gas-fired generator in Marshalltown,. We have an excellent team in place in our Marshalltown facility, we have a great relationship with the community and we couldn’t find a better place to invest. Using gas as our fuel source provides a cleaner source of fuel at a reasonable price.

Third, we will continue to invest in existing generating units to make them run cleaner. It is important for us to constantly improve emissions and to be ready for future changes in environmental regulations.

Finally, we will continue to build upon our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Once we implement this plan, we will have a diverse mix of fuel sources, a cleaner fleet of generators and a cost-efficient, long-term solution for our customers.

A few things became clear to us through this planning process. First, we are optimistic about Iowa’s long-term future, and we want to be part of it. Iowa is a great place to do business. We have a rebounding economy that weathered the financial storms of 2008 better than most and has beaten the national trends in unemployment and growth. And finally, we serve customers and communities that are vibrant and focused on making Iowa even better.

Second, we have a great team of men and women who can execute this plan. We have smart and hard-working employees who make our system reliable even when Mother Nature tests our mettle.

And third, we are committed to Iowa, and we are willing to show it by our investments.

We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and our communities throughout the state of Iowa. We look forward to growing together.

Tom Aller is the president of Interstate Power and Light Company, an Alliant Energy company.

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