Wind Energy in Wisconsin Gets a PTC Boost

Alliant Energy is one of the many utilities to take advantage of the one-year extension on the Production Tax Credit for wind developments. The company has plans to add 50 MW to 100 MW of wind generation by the end of 2005 as part of the Forward Wind Energy Center near Brownsville, Wisconsin.

The addition would bring the company’s total wind energy portfolio to about 450 MW. Their total renewable portfolio now stands at approximately 580 MW, which is approaching 10 percent of its total capacity. The project was solicited as part of a request for proposal issued in the spring of 2004. It is moving forward in part due to the passage of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) legislation, as well as Alliant Energy’s commitment to support Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. “We support Governor Doyle’s efforts with this addition of wind energy, which is in line with the recommendation from the Task Force,” stated Kim Zuhlke, Vice President – New Energy Resources. “In addition, the passage of the PTC legislation, which we supported, now allows wind to become more competitive with fossil fuels. Alliant Energy plans for a diverse portfolio of energy resources, and wind can represent a hedge against rising costs of other fuels.” Alliant plans to contract energy from wind energy developer Invenergy, which would allow the project to reach an economy of scale with optimum pricing to be passed on to customers. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin must approve the project before construction can begin. The site will be located on an area of approximately 50 square miles in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties and will contain 133 wind turbines. Zuhlke stated that the increase is a step toward meeting the 100 MW renewable portion of Wisconsin Power and Light’s (WPL) utility generation plan announced in December 2003. It will provide for an additional 615 total MW in WPL’s service territory by 2010. He stressed that the additional wind energy capacity is intended to compliment the 300 MW, simple-cycle natural gas-fired Sheboygan Falls Energy Facility, which is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2005 summer peak season.

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