Alliant Energy announced this morning they are dropping plans to build a $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown.
From the Marshalltown Times-Republican...
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the coal-fired power plant was to use the highest available technology.
The news came several weeks after a decision by the Iowa Utilities Board, which did not approve a 12.5 percent return on investment, instead allowing the company only to realize a 10-percent return on investment, had the plant been built.
"Had we received what we had asked for, I think we would still be looking at a way to get to yes," said Tom Aller, president of IPL.
Aller mentioned several factors as reasons why the plans for the plant were canceled. In addition to the rate decision from the IUB, he said an elongated air quality permit process, along with pending litigation by outside groups, also played roles. Further, he said the national climate, with talk of carbon penalties and banning coal plants, further destabilized the situation.
The plant was proposed by the utility as a coal-burning power plant that would use newer, more efficient technology and generate some of its power by burning renewable switchgrass or other biomass. The Iowa Utilities Board eventually stipulated that the plant be fueled 10 percent by biomass, and that the company also build 1,100 megawatts of wind energy by 2028.However, the plant still lacked the ability capture carbon, mercury, and other fine particle matter and this drew concerns from many around the state....
Opponents of the plant included the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate, which said it would drastically increase customer bills, and a coalition of groups advocating more green solutions to the state's energy needs. They included Waterloo-based Community Energy Solutions, Cedar Rapids-based Plains Justice, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and Interfaith Power & Light.Proponents of the plant cited an increase in jobs, though many would temporary jobs during construction of the plant.
The power plant had strong support in Marshalltown, where it would have provided $350 million in construction payroll and 85 permanent jobs, with annual payroll of $8.5 million.Those are tough to lose during these tough economic times, but the external costs of the plant on increased power rates, on public health, and on the environment have seemed to outweigh any short term gain.