MADISON, Wis., March 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Officials at Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WP&L), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE:LNT) , announced today they will proceed with plans to increase the amount of wind power in their balanced portfolio of resources by adding 100 megawatts (MW) of wind generation in Wisconsin in 2005. In 2003, Alliant Energy already had 5.4 percent of the nation’s wind capacity on its system and hopes to increase that number with this renewable energy project. WP&L will accept proposals from bidders for 10 to 100 MW wind generation in one or more locations in Wisconsin, with the addition of these resources to be in place for a minimum of 15 years.
Kim Zuhlke, Vice President – New Energy Resources, states that creative ownership structures or power purchase agreements from bidders is encouraged. “These proposals could take on many forms including a purchase power agreement; full or partial ownership of a turn-key wind project; or any combination of these options,” Zuhlke states. “We will remain open-minded to any and all alternatives in order to offer exceptional value in renewable energy to our customers.”
Zuhlke said that while the company encourages all forms of creative proposals, there is an increasing interest in Alliant Energy taking an ownership position in wind.
“We have created a very successful business building the infrastructure necessary to connect wind farms to the electric grid over the past several years, so we have a strong understanding and growing expertise in the wind generation business,” said Zuhlke. “All of our current wind energy capacity is based on various purchased-power contracts, so given our growing expertise and interest, we believe this may be an appropriate time to begin establishing an ownership interest in wind generation that will benefit the state, our customers and our shareowners.”
Alliant Energy’s potential ownership stake could be through direct ownership by WP&L, or under a lease arrangement with Alliant Energy’s unregulated generation subsidiary, Alliant Energy Generation.
One key factor necessary for the project to move forward is the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) law, which expired Dec. 31, 2003 but is currently being debated by lawmakers for renewal. The law essentially provides an incentive for companies to increase the production of electricity generated by clean, renewable energy sources such as wind. This incentive has helped the wind energy industry to grow and resulted in wind turbine technology improvements that have made wind an increasingly efficient, reliable and cost-effective source of electricity. Without the PTC in place, Zuhlke says, wind power is not as economically feasible for our customers.
“We are working closely with our federal elected officials to ensure the renewable energy production tax credit is extended so this project can move forward,” said Zuhlke. “Senator Grassley has been a key supporter of the PTC and we are confident that, with his leadership, we can proceed and have this project in place in 2005.”
“Wind power is a necessary part of a balanced energy diet for Wisconsin utilities. Alliant Energy’s plan to add more wind power to its system will pay off in a healthier bottom line for its customers as well as cleaner air for everyone,” said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin.
This solicitation is one part in a multi-part strategy to address the growing energy needs of WP&L’s electric customers. In Dec. 2003, Alliant Energy announced it would be adding 615 MW of nameplate electric generating capacity in Wisconsin from 2004 through 2010. This includes 300 MW of natural gas simple-cycle generation, 200 MW share in a large base load coal plant, 15 MW anaerobic digesters, and 100 MW wind generation.
Zuhlke stressed that the additional wind energy capacity is intended to compliment the proposed 300-megawatt, natural gas-fired peaking Sheboygan Falls plant announced in Jan. 2004.
“By deploying wind and simple-cycle natural gas generation, we achieve the best of both worlds, said Zuhlke. “Whenever the wind is blowing, we can use this virtually no-cost fuel source with the confidence that we have the capacity available to meet our customers’ energy needs when the wind subsides.”
A bidder’s conference question and answer session will be held in Madison, Wis. for interested parties. Information regarding bidder’s conference and details on how to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) may be found on Alliant Energy’s Web site at www.alliantenergy.com , shortcut www.alliantenergy.com/windrfp. Deadline to submit bid(s) is May 28, 2004.
Alliant Energy is an energy-services provider that serves more than three million customers worldwide. Providing its regulated customers in the Midwest with electricity and natural gas service remains the company’s primary focus. Alliant Energy, headquartered in Madison, Wis., is a Fortune 1000 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNT. For more information, visit the company’s web site at www.alliantenergy.com .
RENEW Wisconsin ( www.renewwisconsin.org ) is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Madison, WI. RENEW promotes clean energy strategies for powering the state’s economy in an environmentally responsible manner
CONTACT: Chris Schoenherr, +1-608-458-3924, or Investors, Becky Johnson,
+1-608-458-3267, both of Alliant Energy Corporation
Web site: http://www.renewwisconsin.org/