Energy and Climate

We use resources wisely, seek new solutions and work to reduce our environmental footprint.

Cleaner Energy

Acting for tomorrow

Alliant Energy embraces advancing clean energy. This aligns with our core value to “Act for Tomorrow”– we use resources wisely, care for the environment and continuously improve ourselves and our company. This means finding innovative ways to address environmental challenges, operate more efficiently and provide flexible energy resources.

Our mission is to deliver the energy solutions and exceptional service that our customers and communities count on – safely, efficiently and responsibly. We remain focused on providing long-term value while positioning our company to transform and adapt as energy technology and customer needs continue to change.

Advancing clean energy is a guiding principle to our company's future sustainability.

By 2030:

  • Renewables will be over 30% of our energy mix
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fueled generation will be reduced by 40%
  • Water supply needs from fossil-fueled generation will be decreased by 75%

By 2050:

  • We will eliminate all existing coal from our energy mix
  • CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled generation will be reduced by 80%

Our strategy will continue to adapt based on future economic developments and evolving energy technologies and trends in the communities we serve.

Carbon Reductions and Climate Goals

Alliant Energy’s plans for a clean energy future are expected to exceed the carbon reductions and climate goals pledged originally by the U.S. under the voluntary United Nations Paris Accord.

The Paris Accord’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. This would be done by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

U.S. Paris Accord Goal:

Reduce greenhouse gases 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025

Long-term carbon outlook

There are many perspectives on the impacts of climate change and the future path to decarbonization of the global energy system. Our strategy will continue to contemplate broader changes in the energy sector including:

  • Two-way flow of energy using smaller and decentralized energy resources
  • Broad adoption of electric end-use technologies including transportation
  • Increased use of renewable energy and battery storage systems
  • Leveraging data systems to build smart and efficient infrastructure

We also support research and development projects to better understand long-term carbon planning. This includes projects to expand knowledge on our clean energy transition, such as analyzing the impacts of emerging technologies, strategies for electric vehicles and customer electrification, and integration of distributed renewables and energy storage. 

Alliant Energy also is participating in an Electric Power Research Institute technical study assessing the state of the science for evaluating a company-specific climate policy scenario analysis or greenhouse gas goal. Key insights from the published study found that there is significant uncertainty between a global temperature goal and an individual company’s emission pathway. More robust methodologies are needed to support company-specific evaluations that consider uncertainties, including attainability of very low global emissions pathways, specific policy design features, non-climate-policy drivers and company-specific circumstances. 

Clean energy transition

We are transitioning our energy to a cleaner mix and expanding cost-effective renewable resources. We’re also investing in our electric and gas distribution infrastructure, making it stronger, smarter and more adaptable to support evolving energy technologies.

Transitioning our energy resources*

Our energy mix is changing as we continue our move to cleaner energy.

Planned resource additions*

Alliant Energy’s regulated utilities currently own 1,097 megawatts of wind, 43 megawatts of hydroelectric, and 6.2 megawatts of solar capacity. Planned new resource additions include 680 megawatts of owned wind by the end of 2020 as well as expanding our solar power resources. This will be complemented with flexible, highly efficient natural gas generation plus more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable purchase power agreements in 2020. Natural gas generation supports a reliable and balanced energy mix that enables the development of intermittent renewable energy.

Smart and dynamic energy grid

We’re optimizing our grid to enable the new two-way flow of energy and
information.

Modernizing our energy infrastructure will make it more flexible to respond to our customers’ needs, improve adaptability to new technologies, plus enhance resiliency and reliability.

Targets

Environmentally responsible

Alliant Energy has a long history of environmental stewardship focused on meeting customers’ energy needs in an economical, efficient and sustainable manner. We proactively consider future environmental compliance requirements and proposed regulations in our planning, decision-making, construction and ongoing operations activities.

Metrics and targets guide our future environmental plans. Adopting a long-term strategy prepares us to achieve environmental compliance requirements. It also provides flexibility to adjust our plans if needed.

*owned fossil-fuel generation

*owned fossil-fuel generation

We have retired approximately 30% of our fossil-fueled generation capacity since 2005. This includes over 1,000 megawatts of retired coal-fired generation. We operate air quality control systems to reduce emissions from our remaining coal-fired generation units.

*owned fossil-fuel generation

Alliant Energy’s water withdrawals have decreased due to retirement of fossil-fueled generating facilities. We are implementing water conservation measures and adding renewable resources to further reduce water use from our electric operations.

Prairie du Sac Hydro, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Planning

Integrated resource planning process

We are focused on managing energy costs for customers while being environmentally responsible, including preparation for a carbon-constrained future. Our electric utility subsidiaries, Interstate Power and Light (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL), are market participants in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) Regional Transmission Organization. By participating in MISO’s wholesale electricity markets, we provide customers in our service area with reliable and cost-effective power.

Through technical analysis, MISO establishes requirements for the long-term efficiency and reliability of the electrical system. Adequate generation supply, including a reserve margin, is a key component to planning a reliable electric network, and we are obligated to satisfy those supply requirements.

We use an integrated resource planning process to:

  1. Determine future energy and capacity needs under a variety of potential sensitivities and futures with varying economic and regulatory policy outlooks.
  2. Develop an action plan that will satisfy those needs safely, efficiently, and responsibly.

Integrated resource planning overview

The integrated resource planning process uses models to evaluate how energy and capacity needs balance with supply. The future planning horizon typically covers 15 to 30 years. We use a year-by-year load forecast that includes both the energy required at the time of maximum consumption and the total amount of energy consumed over time. Energy supply alternatives are modeled using expected performance characteristics, operating and capital costs.

The sensitivity scenarios we consider include potential future policy mandates and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or their monetized effects. Alliant Energy utilizes economic projections for fuel prices, market energy costs, capacity prices and emissions costs, including carbon pricing. We will continue to evaluate appropriate integrated resource planning inputs for carbon in the future.

Ultimately, integrated resource planning results are further assessed in light of our strategy and non-quantifiable risks that cannot be considered in the model. This guides our decisions on the best future energy resources to meet our customers’ electricity needs.

  • Electric sales forecast (residential, commercial, industrial and wholesale)
  • Normalized for temperature
  • Energy efficiency
  • Distributed generation
  • Transportation electrification
  • Existing and new fossil-fueled generating facilities
  • Existing and new renewable facilities
  • Environmental costs and limits
  • Fuel costs
  • Market energy
  • Generating facility retirements
Implementation

Strategic plan opportunities

Our strategic plan aims to expand the portfolio of cleaner and renewable resources while accelerating energy growth to help minimize individual customer prices. We are also modernizing the power grid and gas distribution system to enhance safety, reliability and be more price-competitive and market-responsive for customers.

Alliant Energy expects to invest over $11 billion in these opportunities through 2027 to implement our strategic plan. Near-term capital expenditures from 2019 through 2022 focus primarily on adding renewables and distribution improvements.

We are using green bonds to finance affordable renewable energy projects.

Our energy efficiency programs help customers reduce their energy usage and related costs. As our energy portfolio becomes less carbon-intensive, we are also working to increase business adoption of electric forklifts, electric truck refrigeration units, and electric cars and trucks. Through electrification, we believe that electricity can enable broader economy-wide carbon reductions. Our recent activities to advance these initiatives are described in this online sustainability report.

Electric transport refrigeration units have lower costs and emissions.

Managing risks

We evaluate and report on potential risk factors, including risks that may be climate-related or carbon-related, in our company’s annual Form 10-K report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Risks that may be associated with climate or carbon concerns can be physical risks associated with extreme weather events, regulatory risks associated with changing regulatory requirements and rate recoveries, and economic risks associated with additional required capital expenditures.

We have an enterprise risk management program to identify, communicate and manage significant risks in a structured framework. The risk assessment identifies key themes and trends, quantifies our key risks, and develops management plans and strategies. The Board of Directors is responsible for managing our overall risk profile. The Operations Committee reviews and assesses operational risks including risks associated with climate or carbon concerns.

Programs, plans and actions are put in place to respond to risks that may be associated with climate or carbon concerns.

Alliant Energy responses to climate-related risks
Physical
  • Grid infrastructure design and investments
  • Outage center and power restoration process
  • Emergency planning and preparedness drills
  • Physical security design and prevention measures
  • Advanced metering and communications technologies
  • Industry collaboration
Regulatory
  • Routine communication with regulators
  • Innovative rate design structures
  • Technical and policy committee participation
  • Public comment submissions
Economic
  • Fossil-fueled generation retirements
  • Wind and solar renewables expansion
  • Innovation investments and partnerships
  • Technology research and pilot studies
  • Customer engagement and solutions

Our new natural gas facilities in Iowa (Marshalltown Generating Station) and Wisconsin (West Riverside Energy Center) have been designed to be resilient to short- and long-term climate risks specific to their location and geography as part of their Envision sustainability certification.

Site-specific climate change risk assessments and adaptation plans were completed to identify design criteria based on review of historic climate data and potential vulnerabilities such as increased heat wave intensity, degraded air and water quality, extreme rainfall and storm events.

Next Up: Operations and Environment

We embrace innovation, develop efficiencies and pursue environmental stewardship for future generations.