US utility Alliant Energy has started construction work on a 675MW portfolio of solar projects in Wisconsin after securing approval from state authorities.
The portfolio, announced by Alliant last year and consisting of six plants, was green-lighted by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in April.
The utility has contracted Burns & McDonnell to construct the 50MW Bear Creek and North Rock projects as well as the 150MW Wood County plant, with building work on all three starting this summer.
Construction work on the 150MW Onion River and 75MW Crawfish River installations will be carried out by Ranger Power from autumn 2021, while NextEra Energy Resources has been enlisted to build the 200MW Grant County project, which is expected to break ground in spring 2022. The six projects are slated for completion in 2022 and 2023.
Alliant is still awaiting a decision from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on its second set of six solar projects, which were announced in March and have a combined capacity of 414MW. The company claimed that once all 12 plants are approved and operational, it will become the largest owner and operator of solar energy in Wisconsin.
“This investment in solar will provide our customers with reliable, environmentally friendly energy for decades to come,” said David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company.
The company expects its two Wisconsin solar portfolios to create 2,000 construction jobs and provide approximately US$300 million in revenues to local communities and landowners over project lifespans of 30 years.
In neighbouring Iowa, Alliant Energy last year introduced its Clean Energy Blueprint for the state that will see it add up to 400MW of solar by 2023 as part of efforts to eliminate coal from its generation fleet by 2040. The utility is also exploring how battery storage can enhance reliability in the state and expects to add up to 100MW of distributed energy resources, such as community solar and energy storage systems, by 2026.