Friday, February 06, 2009

Iowa Utilities Board Decision Threatens Marshalltown Coal Plant

A decision yesterday by the Iowa Utilities Board threatens the future of the coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. Alliant Energy was asking for a 12.5% return on investment, but the Iowa Utilities Board agreed to a 10% return.

From the Marshalltown Times Republican...

"Whether it could be a deal breaker, I don't know," said Ken Anderson, president of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Aller, president of Interstate Power and Light, a division of Alliant Energy, released a statement saying the issue will have to be carefully considered.

"The conditions placed by the IUB on the proposed hybrid power plant present a number of challenges in today's financial climate, and we are disappointed that this decision seemingly does not take that reality into account," he said. "We will continue to work with our partners to determine how today's decision will impact our respective companies' long-term generation plans."

Anderson said the situation was far from a done deal and there was still time for Alliant Energy to decide not to build the plant in Marshalltown.

"There's always the possibility this thing will stop," he said.

This decision puts Iowa one step closer to moving away from coal-fired power plants and investing in solar, wind, and geothermal power.


Anonymous said...

Your last comment is what losses me everytime on the "power generation" debate. I think everyone, including the power companies, more or less understands that fossil fueled power plants will be phased out over the next several years. What I don't see from opponents to coal plants is an equal acceptance of the fact that the day when we eleminate fossil fuels isn't today.

The fact is we can't currently generate the power we need from purely renewable forms. Yes we need more wind, solar, geothermal and renewable energy, but that isn't mutaly exclusive from needing more energy from new coal plants.

Everyone (excepting the coal industry) wants to get a place where we won't need coal power, but we just aren't there yet and we're cutting off our nose to spite our face by pretending otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that we don't need the generation now or for the near future. Alliant projects an increase in need, though not everyone agrees with that analysis. But the numbers show that implementing energy efficiency measures cost 1/3 as much as a coal plant. And that demand analysis was made before the current crash and was largely dependent on new ethanol plants -- but ethanol plants are now closing not opening.

So we don't need the new generation for the near future and the tech is changing fast enough that we're dumb not to wait 5-10 years to start a new siting process. Yes, I know that there is a lag between siting and getting power online. But we don't need it yet, and it's the worst possible time to buy it now.