US utility to spend $1bn for wind farm expansion

Alliant Energy is the latest US power company to give greater attention to its renewables portfolio as clean energy becomes more competitive with fossil fuels.

US utility Alliant Energy has pledged $1 billion to add 500MW of capacity to a wind farm in Iowa.

The expansion of the 200MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm will take place over the next five years and will increase the number of homes it can power from 50,000 to 215,000. Alliant plans to apply renewables tax credits to the project to lower power prices for customers, it said in a statement. The company has targeted a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2030.

“Our customers expect low-cost, clean energy, which is exactly what this project will bring to the communities we serve,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy's Iowa utility. “Wind has no fuel costs and zero emissions, making it a win-win for Iowans and the Iowa economy.”

More US utilities are investing in renewables as generation costs have fallen. Last month, Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, tapped the European market to issue a €1.1 billion green bond. Southern Company has a portfolio of 73 coal, oil, gas and hydro plants, but has added 3.8GW of renewables since 2012.