Former nuclear power plant to become a large solar and storage project

Alliant Energy has announced plans to build a Solar energy and storage complex near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on the site of the former Duane Arnold nuclear power station. When completed, the project would become Alliant the state’s largest combined solar and storage operator, and it is part of Alliant’s ambition to increase its renewable energy output.

Alliant revealed information for the first portion of a projected 400 MW of solar power generating in a Nov. 2 file with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). The company announced it will buy 200 megawatts of Solar energy and 75 megawatts of battery energy storage from the Duane Arnold Solar Project, which is being constructed by NextEra Energy Resources subsidiaries.

Alliant’s Iowa Clean Energy Blueprint includes today’s announcement. Alliant Energy would own and manage the finished Duane Arnold project, which is projected to be completely operational by the End of 2024.

Alliant Energy’s director of resource development, Ben Lipari, said, “We’re reusing the site and some of the related infrastructure of the decommissioned Duane Arnold Energy Center and reinvesting in Linn County.” “A section of the facility is converting to produce Solar energy, paired with large-scale storage to offer operational flexibility for our clients,” Lipari added.

Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy division, stated, “It’s part of our purpose-driven approach of helping consumers and developing stronger communities.” “Our strategy also prioritizes client affordability.” We’re thrilled to be converting property from a decommissioned nuclear power plant into Iowa’s largest solar and battery storage complex.”

Existing Infrastructure Can Be Repurposed

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The solar-plus-storage system will make use of the Duane Arnold site’s existing energy transmission infrastructure. After being damaged by high winds during a derecho in August 2020, the 615-MW nuclear reactor, which was set to close late last year, was not restarted.

The development and installation of the first 200 MW of solar energy and 75 MW of battery storage at the site, according to Alliant Energy, would create up to 200 new construction jobs. According to an economic impact analysis prepared by Strategic Economic Research, an Illinois-based renewable energy consultant, the Duane Arnold project is expected to provide a total positive economic output of up to $260 million for Iowa, including up to $154 million for Linn County. During development and throughout the lifespan of the projects, the research looked at the cumulative economic effect of new employment, salaries, tax income, and other economic activities.

“While powering tens of thousands of homes with solar energy, this is beneficial for our customers, the communities we serve, and the environment,” said Mayuri Farlinger, Alliant Energy’s director of operations. “Moreover, these projects ensure that we have a broad mix of reliable energy supply to satisfy our customers’ continuous needs.”

Alliant is increasing its renewable energy production

On Tuesday, Alliant said it will provide more information about its intentions for the extra 200 MW of solar power output at a later date. In Iowa, the utility now generates around 1,300 MW of wind power, and the addition of 400 MW of solar power would bring renewable output to roughly half of the company’s overall resource mix.

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“Our Clean Energy Blueprint is our goal for speeding up our transition to create more clean, renewable energy while investing back into the communities we serve,” Lipari explained. Clean energy and storage technologies are both cost-effective and will provide long-term advantages to our consumers. We’re guided by our Clean Energy Vision as we go forward with our solar and storage ambitions, ensuring a varied energy mix. Our move to renewable energy puts us on track to meet our clean energy targets, which include phasing out coal from our generating fleet by 2040 and achieving net-zero CO2 emissions for electricity generation by 2050.”

In their submission to the IUB, NextEra Resources subsidiaries are demanding clearance for the siting of new projects. The board is scheduled to make a decision in the second half of 2022.

“We are excited to continue working with Alliant Energy and the people of Linn County, which we have had the privilege of serving for the past 15 years with the Duane Arnold Energy Center,” said Matt Handel, NextEra Energy Resources senior vice president of development. “Duane Arnold Solar is a cutting-edge project that combines cost-effective, clean, renewable solar energy with battery energy storage technology, giving consumers more access to renewable energy for longer periods of time, even when the sun isn’t shining.”

“Alliant Energy and NextEra Energy Resources have a long history of partnering to provide consumers with carbon-free energy sources and energy generation,” Kouba said. These measures keep us on track to meet our aspirational goal of generating power with zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. This solar and battery storage system will benefit our clients, the local community, and the environment for decades.”

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