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Alliant Energy signals interest in developing 1200 MW of new generation in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, March 22, 2001 (PRNewswire) — At a customer information meeting in Mason City Thursday, Alliant Energy-IES Utilities President Eliot Protsch discussed the company’s interest in developing up to 1200 megawatts of new electric power generation in Iowa over the next 10 years.

“There has never been a more critical time to come together to address Iowa’s energy future,” says Protsch. “Our state legislature is considering legislation to help address the issue and we want policymakers to know Alliant Energy stands ready to work with all parties to formulate a strategy that ensures what’s happening in California does not happen here.”

In his comments, Protsch said Alliant Energy would be willing to develop new power plants in Iowa under terms and conditions that provide the appropriate framework to attract the significant amount of capital required to finance the construction program. The new plants would help meet critical Alliant Energy needs for new generation. The plants would help supply projected increased electricity needs of Alliant Energy’s Iowa customers over the next ten years and help replace existing purchased power agreements. The company expects long-term contracts for electricity from new Iowa power plants built by independent power producers (IPPs) to also play an important role in meeting these identified needs. Protsch says establishing incentives for Iowa utilities to buy power from new plants constructed in Iowa by IPPs is important as well.

“While there are a multitude of factors to consider, at the crux of this issue is the need for more generation in the state,” says Protsch. “We believe that goal is best accomplished by enacting policies that encourage the construction of power plants by Iowa utilities, their affiliates and IPPs.” Protsch adds that a robust wholesale generation market, with many suppliers and a strong, independent regional transmission system will provide significant benefits to Iowa consumers in both the near and long-term.

“This approach provides not only for growth in electric demand, it also looks toward protecting our environment by bringing new, cleaner and more efficient plants on-line,” says Protsch.

In considering new plants, Protsch says the company would review potential sites, including existing power plant sites, which have the necessary infrastructure in place. “At the top of the list of critical components for a power plant site is a community that is willing to host the new facility. We look forward to talking to people in the local communities and working with them to identify where new plants make the most sense,” says Protsch. “Communities that host new facilities must benefit from their role in helping to solve a state-wide problem.” Protsch says Alliant Energy would consider partnerships with other Iowa energy providers for construction and ownership of the new power plants.

Protsch adds that energy conservation and alternative energy sources must be key components of any good energy policy. “I’ve been speaking for several weeks on the need for a national energy policy that includes not only new generation, but all the other tools we can, and must, deploy to successfully address our energy future,” says Protsch. “Distributed resource technologies, like microturbines, renewable energy sources, including co-firing with renewable fuels at older coal plants and expansion of successful energy efficiency programs all have a key role to play. Let’s be clear that this is not about deregulation, nor is it just about building new plants. It’s about taking a comprehensive and strategic approach towards energy.”

Protsch says he is encouraged by the legislative process currently underway in Iowa to encourage additional generation and pledges that Alliant Energy wants to play a constructive role. “With blackouts occurring in California even before summer arrives, a great deal of anxiety is building in Iowa over the prospect of facing energy shortages and I commend our elected officials for their efforts to date,” says Protsch. “By publicly expressing our interest in building new power plants in Iowa, it should be clear that Alliant Energy stands ready to do its part to help avoid a similar energy crisis in our state.”

Alliant Energy Corporation ( http://www.alliantenergy.com ; NYSE: LNT), headquartered in Madison, Wis., is a growing energy-services provider with operations both domestically and internationally. Alliant Energy, through its subsidiaries and partners, provides electric, natural gas, water and steam services to over three million customers worldwide. Alliant Energy’s utility subsidiaries provide electric service to over 461,000 customers and natural gas service to over 215,000 customers in Iowa. Alliant Energy Resources, Inc., home of the company’s non-utility businesses, has operations and investments throughout the United States as well as in Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico and New Zealand.