Coal plant canceled in Marshalltown

MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA - There will be no new coal plant in Marshalltown.

Alliant Energy Corp. subsidiary Interstate Power and Light Co. said it — along with partners Central Iowa Power Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative and North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association — had canceled plans to build its proposed $1.

8 billion coal-fired Sutherland Generating Station in this town of 26,000, about 60 miles southwest of Waterloo.

The decision to cancel the project is based on a "combination of factors including the current economic and financial climate," increasing environmental, legislative and regulatory uncertainty regarding regulation of future greenhouse gas emissions, and the terms placed on the proposed power plant by regulators," Alliant said in a news release.

Alliant won't necessarily abandon its plant site, as did LS Power Associates Inc., which in January pulled out of a proposed $1.3 billion coal-fired plant in Waterloo, said Ryan Stensland, a spokesman for Alliant.

"We're going to put together a Plan B," he said, adding that the company had not worked out the details of any fallback plan. "We've got a strong foundation in that we're building wind energy."

He said the company has ruled out a nuclear plant.

"Unfortunately, we think this is a missed opportunity for Iowa's economy, its working families and its environment," Stensland said. "This next option we're going to put forward is not going to be the most cost-effective option."

Stensland said Alliant already had spent about $50 million on the proposed plant, which had received approval from the Iowa Utilities Board.

The company has other projects going in Iowa, including the 92,000-acre Whispering Willow wind farm near Hampton, which is expected to be online next year. The company also is investing in its existing power plants "to enhance their production while reducing their impact on the environment," IPL President Tom Aller said in a news release.


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