Operations and Environment

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

Growing sustainably

Implementing the Envision® rating system

In 2016, Alliant Energy began to use the Envision® rating system, which is a sustainability tool used in the planning, design and construction phases of new infrastructure projects.

Envision® provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental and economic benefits of our large infrastructure projects. We use this tool to help guide our decisions and make our energy resources more sustainable.

In March 2018, our 6.2-megawatt Dubuque Solar site was the first solar project in the nation to receive Platinum recognition.

Marshalltown Generating Station, our 706-megawatt natural gas combined cycle facility that went into operation in April 2017, is the largest electric utility project to complete the Envision® verification process with the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. It earned the highest level of recognition – Platinum.

Minimizing waste

Coal combustion residuals (CCR) are what remain after the direct combustion of coal in generating stations and include residuals from air quality control systems. Alliant Energy’s goal is to manage CCR safely and responsibly in order to protect both the environment and the public, while assuring compliance with state and federal regulations. Identifying approved approaches with state regulatory agencies to manage CCR remains a focus and in 2017 we achieved 62% beneficial re-use, primarily in cement products.

We continue to improve how we manage waste as we retrofit, expand and decommission our facilities. Our large construction contracts require contractors to reduce landfill waste by 75%. In 2017, for all large projects, we reached 85% by diverting over 16,000 tons of metal, wood, concrete asphalt and other waste materials from landfills.

In 2017, we repurposed existing building space at our headquarters to create a multi-purpose, 250-person conference center. In addition to featuring energy-efficient LED lighting and screens, this room can also serve as a shelter during severe weather events. Local contractors achieved 89% waste diversion during its construction.

New technologies

Building a smart energy future

We are installing smart meters for our Iowa customers and expect to complete that process by the end of 2020. We’ve been operating smart meters for our Wisconsin customers for more than a decade.

Smart meters detect outages faster, provide improved service and deliver better information. They also enable easier integration of power from renewable energy sources and provide greater opportunity for connecting battery storage options.

Collecting meter readings wirelessly is more sustainable. Using this technology reduces costs and vehicle emissions because customer properties won’t need to be visited monthly.

Investing in the power grid

We are evolving our energy system to one that enables more customer control and promotes growth in the communities we serve. One way we’re making the power grid more reliable and secure is by putting more equipment underground. We’re also installing stronger power poles, larger wires and more robust equipment.

We’re optimizing our grid to enable the new two-way flow of energy and information. An interactive power grid reduces the frequency and duration of outages – and improves the integration of new technologies like renewable energy, battery storage and electric vehicles.

Evaluating energy technologies

Our company’s partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute to use our Madison Solar Garden as a research lab is providing insights into using renewable technologies and batteries for energy storage in the Midwest. Since installation in April 2016, the solar arrays have offset approximately 10% of our office energy consumption, and when combined with other energy efficiency projects, they have helped us reduce overall building energy demand at our headquarters by 16%. In 2017 we installed a second, larger 250-kilowatt battery system to test more research scenarios.

To share our knowledge, we’ve created a data portal that can be accessed at alliantenergy.com/solar. You can view:

  • Live and historic data alongside weather conditions and solar irradiance levels
  • How the different solar technologies compare to one another
  • How the battery energy storage system is performing
  • Photos, video clips and interactive charts

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reduction in the length of outages

4

the power as today's system

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upgraded higher voltage lines
Security

Cyber and physical security

As cyber and physical threats grow, we are focused on the security, reliability and resiliency of the energy grid and our data systems. We continue to evolve our response strategies to manage risk by:

  • Participating in drills and other activities to prepare for extraordinary scenarios
  • Conducting employee training, education, awareness and periodic testing
  • Continually improving capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats
  • Applying prevention strategies to employ a number of physical security measures at our generating stations, substations and other facilities to deter malicious attacks
  • Collaborating on resiliency efforts to ensure there is sufficient spare equipment in the event of an incident
  • Partnering with other energy companies and working directly with government partners to more thoroughly understand potential threats and to better protect our systems
  • Joining a mutual assistance network among energy companies to speed up response and recovery time when there is significant damage to the energy grid

The Operations Committee and Board of Directors are responsible for oversight of our cyber and physical security programs.

Alliant Energy’s Security Program Standards and Collaboration

  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Licensing Standards
  • Transportation Security Administration Gas Pipeline Security Guidelines
  • Federal and State Information Privacy Laws and Regulations
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Homeland Security Information Network
  • Domestic Security Alliance Council
  • American Society for Industrial Security
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Private/Public Collaboration and Infragard Program
  • Iowa and Wisconsin Fusion Centers for sharing of threat-related information
  • Wisconsin Statewide Information Center
  • Public/Private/Partnership (P3) between Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and Wisconsin’s Utilities
  • Electric Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center
  • Edison Electric Institute Security Working Group
  • Industrial Control System Joint Working Group

Next Up: Customers and Community

We put customers first and partner with our communities to help create a better tomorrow.