We power lives through our energy solutions and by making a difference in the communities we serve.
Supporting the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations has adopted a plan for achieving a better future, called “Agenda 2030.” The goal for the United Nations, over the next 15 years, is to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. In this plan there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our stories provide SDG icons to show our aligning actions for a better and more sustainable future. We’re excited to work with our stakeholders on the SDGs toward a path to success as Alliant Energy continues to grow, transform, and optimize our operations.
Transition grows renewable resources
We are looking to the future as we provide more renewable energy. We currently have over 1,000 MW of wind capacity from our existing wind farms and purchase power agreements. Our Madison solar lab is providing valuable lessons on how to effectively generate solar power in our region and integrate electric vehicles and battery storage technologies onto the grid.
Our plan is to provide a diverse energy mix that includes sustainable resources such as wind and solar plus highly efficient and reliable natural gas facilities. In addition, we are continuing to upgrade the energy grid to enable the integration of customer-owned renewables.
In early 2018, we started construction on Upland Prairie Wind Farm and our company is continuing this expansion with five more wind sites to be built by the end of 2020. As we accelerate our transition toward a clean energy future, increasing our wind and solar energy supply is an integral part of our plans to cost-effectively meet our customers’ needs for safe, reliable and sustainable energy.
Using solar to educate
Visitors to our solar garden in downtown Dubuque learn about more than solar energy. They also learn that the solar garden was built on a brownfield site and is the first Envision® Platinum-rated solar project in the nation. The facility features a walking path to view the panels close-up, educational signage and an informational kiosk. The site also includes pollinator habitat.
To further integrate our solar garden into its surroundings, our Foundation is supporting the city’s effort to restore the Bee Branch Watershed that encompasses the facility by providing funding for benches and tables, interpretive signage and a Bike Fix-It Station.
Charging up our customers’ commute
Electrification is a key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the transportation sector, which is now the largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the U.S. Increasing adoption of electric vehicles provides benefits to our customers and the environment. The operating cost is at least 50% less for an electric vehicle compared to gasoline-fueled. Plus, an electric vehicle powered by today’s grid in our service area offers a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions.
At Ride, Drive and Learn events, people experience an electric vehicle without purchasing one. In 2017, we hosted four events in Madison, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids during National Drive Electric week. The events showcased electric vehicles from local dealerships, charging stations, rebates from Alliant Energy and manufacturer discounts.
Being a good neighbor
Providing power is about more than building a new facility. It’s also about being a good neighbor. For our 730-megawatt natural gas-fired West Riverside Energy Center project, we invited area residents to provide feedback in the planning stages. Their input helped determine the generating station location and technologies used.
The neighbor interaction is continuing throughout the construction phase. Regular updates are mailed to 80 nearby property owners. Multiple face-to-face neighborhood meetings are taking place to provide building updates and receive feedback. Key project team members stop by residences to ask how neighbors believe the activity on our site is going. Landscaping and other changes have been made as a direct result of what we have heard from customers living near the property.
Energy education equals a bright future
Creating the next generation of energy workers is critical to our company. Young adults benefit by quickly learning skills in an exciting trade that provides family-sustaining wages. Consider the current situation with gas utility technicians. There are more jobs for gas technicians than there are qualified people to apply.
To ensure a future workforce, we donated $80,000 to the Energy Education Center at Moraine Park Technical College in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. This cutting-edge facility will be home to the college’s new Gas Utility Technician program, with a target of graduating the first class in 2019.
STEM lays the groundwork for success
Supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs or events creates a spark and encourages young people to explore careers in the energy field. We’ve provided STEM grants across our Iowa and Wisconsin service areas.
Our employees volunteer in primary schools, educating students on the value of STEM careers, and work with colleges to recognize students receiving STEM degrees. For example, Amanda Blank is an engineer that oversees our two hydroelectric dams in Wisconsin and an operations center.
Her participation has ranged from providing facility tours to young people to making presentations on STEM careers during high school and college classes.
Making our flying friends a top priority
Our company has taken steps for decades to show care and responsibility for birds and bats within our service area. We work hard to prevent and minimize impacts on them from our poles, wires, wind farms and other infrastructure equipment. In November 2017, we formalized and enhanced our efforts in a voluntary Avian Protection Plan.
The Plan covers many aspects, such as training for employees, a reporting system to track incidents and actions taken, and outlines procedures and best practices. For example, how to minimize hazards and protect birds if we need to move active nests built on power line structures.
We’ve also implemented a new avian risk assessment tool. It will help us determine locations of the highest risk to avian species. High-risk areas are typically around migration flyways, waterways, waterbodies and wetlands that have our lines located nearby. This allows us to take enhanced action in those regions to protect birds.
Employees assist after Hurricane Irma
Our response in September 2017 to the devastation left by Hurricane Irma was part of what many have called the largest industry response to a storm. We sent over 200 employees who joined a contingent of 60,000 utility workers brought in to restore power.
Our planning started even before the storm hit. In the days leading up to landfall, Florida Power and Light (FPL), along with other utilities, submitted a request for help through the Mutual Assistance program. This flexible program lets our crews lend a hand while response costs are paid by the utility asking for help.
Back home, many employees worked late nights and extra shifts and gave up time with their families to help. The team effort by all contributed to a successful outcome when customers of FPL in Florida got their power back quickly. The customers were very grateful for our help.
Security exercise highlights public partnerships
Infrastructure protection, collaboration, logistics and incident management were the training topics at our generating station near Portage, Wisconsin, last fall. In November 2017, the GridEx IV national drill took place.
Alliant Energy partnered with law enforcement agencies, other first responders, county and state agencies, and the Wisconsin National Guard to extend the exercise to our Columbia Energy Center property.
The training exercise simulated suspicious physical and cyber incidents at a critical infrastructure asset. It was intended to further test public-private collaboration and incident command system capabilities, identifying areas for continuous improvement.
“Go digital” piles on savings
In late 2017, Alliant Energy launched a corporate-wide initiative to “go paperless – go digital.” Almost as soon as it was announced, a steady stream of internal business units and work teams proudly submitted the results of their ideas to move traditionally paper-based processes and reports to fully online or digital processes.
To keep the internal momentum going, we’ve leveraged an ongoing series of “Go Digital” articles highlighting these success stories and recognizing the people involved. In addition to the success stories, we’ve provided actionable ideas, useful tools and resource tips to help other employees use online and digital methods.
The results of this effort are impressive – as we have already seen a substantial and measurable decline in paper consumption. Since September 2017, our use of printer paper has decreased by 75%! We’ve also encouraged customers to enroll in Paperless Billing saving 8.5 million sheets of paper in 2017.
In 2017, our Paperless Billing customers have saved enough paper to stack as high as 3 wind turbines!