Alliant Energy planning to close Columbia coal-fired units by 2024

Utility firm Alliant Energy has announced the retirement of its last coal-fired power plant in Wisconsin.

Alliant will close the Columbia Energy Center by the end of 2024, nearly 50 years after it first became operational.

“The closure of Columbia is truly a historic moment as we stop burning coal in our Wisconsin Operations and fully turn our attention to generating cleaner energy using renewable resources, such as solar, battery storage and high efficiency gas,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “While we are pleased to reach agreement with the co-owners on this retirement date for the facility, we will not be hasty in the final years of operation. We will take care of our employees and provide career assistance to those who are interested while tending to the community we so proudly serve.”

The move also will save the company close to $250 million expected to keep the power plant efficient and competitive, according to reports.

“In other words, these savings will keep costs affordable for the long-term while we continue to safely and reliably deliver the energy our customers expect,” de Leon added.

The Columbia Energy Center, which went into operation in 1975, is capable of generating more than 1,100 MW at capacity. Retiring the facility by the end of 2024 positions Alliant Energy to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030, according to its release.

The company also plans to eliminate all coal from its generation fleet by 2040. Last year, Alliant Energy announced plans to add 675 MW of solar generation. Alliant Energy  co-owns the Columbia facility with Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group, and Madison Gas and Electric Company. Collectively, the utility companies intend to retire Unit 1 by the end of 2023 and Unit 2 by the end of 2024.

Alliant Energy is the parent of Interstate Power and Light Co. and Wisconsin Power & Light. It is headquartered in Madison, Wisc., and has offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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