Alliant announces net-zero power generation goal

A technician stands below an Alliant-owned wind turbine in northern Iowa. CREDIT ALLIANT

By CBJ News Staff

Alliant Energy announced a corporate goal to achieve net-zero electricity generation in 2050 and raised its goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and eliminating its burning of coal in a new corporate responsibility report issued today.

The report cites a new “Clean Energy Vision” with a 2030 goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 50%, up from a goal of 40% in last year’s report, and of eliminating coal from its generation fleet by 2040, up from a prior goal of eliminating coal by 2050.

Lowering carbon emissions from power generation is seen by scientists as one of the critical factors in slowing the rate of climate change, and coal combustion is the greatest emitter of carbon dioxide in power generation. Alliant says cleaner air is part of its commitment to “serving customers and strengthening communities.”

Achieving the net-zero carbon emissions goal won’t mean eliminating all carbon-emitting generation sources from Alliant’s generation fleet, according to Jeff Hanson, director of environmental services and corporate sustainability for Alliant. Rather, the company expects to offset carbon emissions from natural gas generation, for instance. That could include the use of carbon sinks, such as tree and vegetation plantings.

Alliant’s ability to set higher goals is largely due to its deployment of renewable energy technologies – primarily wind energy in Iowa and solar in Wisconsin. The utility has deployed 1 gigawatt of wind energy in Iowa, and is in the process of deploying 1 gigawatt of solar energy in Wisconsin.

The company recently hit its goal for achieving 30% of its power from renewables 10 years earlier than expected, according to Jim Gallegos, executive vice president and general counsel for Alliant. He said the company’s roadmap to achieving the 2030 and 2040 goals is largely defined, however Alliant will be looking at studying and engaging in stakeholders to determine how best to achieve the net zero goal in 2050.

The report offered no details on how the new goals will affect specific power plant retirements, but more information will be released as it becomes available on that front, according to the company. CBJ