All Posts By

Erin Dammen

Iowa’s governor names John Larsen to Carbon Sequestration Task Force

John Larsen, Alliant Energy

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds named Alliant Energy Chair, President and CEO John Larsen to a new task force to explore carbon sequestration and the opportunities it presents for economic development. The Carbon Sequestration Task Force will leverage Iowa’s look to capitalize on nationwide demand for a more carbon-free economy. 

According to U.S. Geological Survey, carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the ultimate goal is to reduce global climate change. 

“Iowa is a recognized leader in renewable fuel and food production, and this is another opportunity to lead and be innovative, invest in Iowa agriculture, and facilitate new sources of revenue for our agriculture and energy sectors,” Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. “I am proud to bring together an impressive team of stakeholders that will help formulate smart, commonsense policy recommendations on this issue ahead of the 2022 legislative session.” 

Joining Larsen on the task force are other key stakeholders representing industries and interests integral to the carbon sequestration supply chain in Iowa. According to Secretary of Agriculture and task force Vice Chair Mike Naig, the group will work together to identify strategies to expand current conservation efforts, create revenue streams, improve financial sustainability and grow Iowa’s economy. 

“I’m honored to work with this group of respected, forward-thinking industry leaders to explore carbon sequestration opportunities for the state of Iowa,” said Larsen. “I look forward to participating in solutions that expand and enhance economic and environmental health of the communities we represent.” 

As part of the Carbon Sequestration Task Force, Larsen will have the opportunity to bring Alliant Energy’s expertise and energy vision to the forefront. As we create innovative solutions to complex problems, advance clean energy, strengthen our communities and build a smarter, stronger power grid, our dedication will be integral to the task force’s carbon sequestration efforts. 

Interactive maps identify locations for industrial sites

interactive map thumbnail

interactive map thumbnailIn response to travel restrictions, our economic development team used technology to illustrate the benefits of our certified growth sites in Iowa and Wisconsin.  

The maps provide site location consultants and real estate executives the opportunity to understand and see our industrial sites without on-location visits. The interactive map shows industrial property information including community assets, labor force and population, transportation routes, site costs and target industries. In addition, the map identifies utility assets and capacity for electricity, natural gas, water/wastewater and broadband.  

“Working with Alliant Energy on developing interactive maps to showcase the Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park in Clinton, Iowa, has been an enjoyable and easy process. It is essential to maintain close relationships with our region’s utility partners, and Alliant Energy continues to support our efforts as contributing members of a thriving community.” Stated Andy Sokolovich, vice president of economic development, Clinton Regional Development Corporation. 


Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit reduces corporate income tax rate to 0.4%

woman sorting apples

woman sorting applesThe state of Wisconsin has a long, successful history in manufacturing and agriculture. From sausage and cheese to motorcycles and military equipment, the industries are the foundation of Wisconsin’s economy. According to the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity website, more than 25% of the state’s labor force was in manufacturing last year and the industry was responsible for $12.8 billion in exports. And, according to the Department of Agriculture and the Trade and Consumer Protection website, the agriculture industry made up 12% of the state’s labor force last year and saw $3.37 billion in exports. 

A talented workforce, a robust technical college system and over 14.3 million acres of farmland are factors in the success of these industries. Wisconsin’s favorable tax environment is also helpful.  

Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit is a statutory tax credit available to claimants that derive qualified production activities income from property located in Wisconsin that is assessed as either manufacturing or agricultural. According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation website, “the tax credit amounts to 7.5% of ‘eligible qualified production activities income,’ resulting in an effective corporate tax rate of 0.4% as of 2016.” The tax credit is in perpetuity and has no maximum dollar limit.  

When combined with the state’s property tax exemption on production machinery and the sales and use tax exemption on products used in the manufacturing process, including repair parts, it is no wonder that Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.  

Learn more 

Contact or visit Wisconsin Department of Revenue 

Manufacturers grow in Iowa and Wisconsin

General Mills sign

Rockline Industries to add new jobs in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Rockline Industries based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, announced a $19.7 million expansion along with the creation of 54 new jobs over the next three years. The family-owned company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coffee filters and consumer, health care, industrial and institutional wet wipes. Rockline plans to double its household disinfecting wipes manufacturing capacity in Sheboygan.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is supporting Rockline’s expansion with up to $380,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The expansion will allow Rockline to double its production of disinfecting wet wipes.

“We are very fortunate to have an amazing company like Rockline in Sheboygan County,” said Brian Doudna, executive director, Sheboygan Economic Development Corporation. “They continue to invest in our community and its people. This expansion was supported by both the WEDC and the Department of Workforce Development’s Wisconsin fast forward program to support the creation of jobs, capital investment and training on new equipment that will increase wages and skills of the labor force.”

General Mills signGeneral Mills expands with investment in Cedar Rapids facility

Minneapolis-based food manufacturer General Mills announced a $57 million expansion of their manufacturing operation in Cedar Rapids. The expansion will add 60 new jobs. The plant currently employs 615 people. The project will improve existing production flows while investing in new and more efficient equipment, modifications to existing walls to house conveyors, piping ductwork, electrical upgrades, and roof penetrations for structural support.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved various tax credits for the expansion in Cedar Rapids. General Mills has until 2023 to hire the 60 new workers with average wages between $23.49 and $29.62 per hour.

Community Spotlight: Clinton, IA

Clinton, Iowa

Clinton, IowaClintonIowa, was No. 1 in Site Selection magazine’s 2020 rankings for the most per capita industrial projects along the Mississippi River Valley Corridor. Clinton also won a statewide award for business retention and expansion after assisting six local businesses with their expansion projects from 2020 to 2021. The projects are valued at over $270 million.  

“Our number one priority is to accommodate our businesses’ needs regardless of their size,” said Erin M. Cole, president and CEO of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation. “In the Greater Clinton Region, each company is treated like a VIP. We go out of our way to leverage all local, state and federal resources for the benefit of our employers.”  

Surrounded by corn and soybeans, Clinton is located in easternmost Iowa along the Mississippi River. Just two hours west of Chicagoland, Clinton draws workers and investors from neighboring Illinois. Its prime Midwest location along four-lane U.S. Highway 30 is in close proximity to Interstate 80 and Interstate 88. The region is served by three Class I railroads, and wet and dry barge transportation is available on the Mississippi River.  

In November 2020, Japan’s Spiber Inc. chose Clinton for its first U.S. production facility through a partnership with agribusiness ADM. The biotech startup converts corn-based dextrose into next-generation biomaterials for use in apparel, car seats and other products. In addition to Spiber, Naeve Family Beef chose the Greater Clinton Region for its new meat processing facility. And a renewable energy company has plans to announce Clinton as the site for its first production facility. These companies join dozens of existing manufactures in the area. 

Community resources 

Two business parks currently have land available for new projects. The Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park is an Iowa Certified Site with existing Union Pacific rail serviceThe Lyons Business and Technology Park is zoned for light industrial and commercial businesses. The rail park has over 350 acres available for development, and the technology park has an existing 18,000-plus square feet flex space building available for sale or lease. Both parks are outside of the 500year floodplain. The quality of life is high, the cost of living is low! 

Workforce development and attraction 

More than 470,000 potential workers make up Clinton’s labor pool. All employers can utilize three unique talent attraction programs. The manufacturing awareness workforce development certificate prepares displaced workers and recent graduates for jobs in the manufacturing sector at no cost to the student. The Clinton County community student loan assistance program helps new residents pay off their student loan debt faster. And the home base Iowa program for military veterans offers job search assistance and up to $6,500 toward the purchase of a home in Clinton County 

Incentives and economic development resources 

The CRDC is ready to welcome new employers to ClintonAlliant Energy supports new projects and facilitates meetings for new businesses at the local, state and federal level.  

How do I get started? 

Contact us at or visit  

Retired coal plants’ infrastructure present opportunities

Edgewater Generating Station

Edgewater Generating StationAlliant Energy announced we will close our two remaining coal plants in Wisconsinthe Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, WI, and the Columbia Energy Center near Portage, WI. We will retire the Edgewater Generating Station by the end of 2022 and the Columbia Energy Center by the end of 2024.  

Working closely with community leaders, our team seeks to transform these retired coal-burning facilities into valuable community assets. In 2020, we partnered with Beloit College to transform a retired coal-burning facility into The Powerhouse, a new gateway to downtown Beloit along the city’s riverfront.   

Robust infrastructure creates prime locations for industry  

Once remediated, these two sites present exciting redevelopment opportunities. They each have heavy electrical infrastructure in place, and offer easy access to freshwaterlevel three fiber and two key markets: Madison and Milwaukee.  

Retired coal plant properties can easily be adapted into data centers without saddling the new tenant with upfront costs or reduced efficiencies. Larger bays with efficient floor plates and weight capacity to support high-density server racks allow for scalability, efficiency and flexibility. Critical factors include ample and reliable power along with cooling capacity. They are designed to withstand severe weather conditionsPhysical security measures such as perimeterfencing with surveillance cameras are already installed on-site. 

The physical layout of these facilities can also be easily repurposed for indoor vertical farming: Bays with high ceilings can accommodate vertically stacked layers, artificial lights and rotating beds to maximize crop output. Situated at the epicenter of eight large regional/national grocery retailers’ perishable distribution centers offers the best hope for scaling of profitability.  

Property details 

1. Edgewater Generating Station – Sheboygan, Wisconsin 

The Edgewater Generating Station is a 265-acre site that currently generates 380 MW of energy in Sheboygan. Sheboygan is located roughly 50 miles north of Milwaukee and 64 miles south of Green Bay. The plant sits on the shores of Lake Michigan and is just minutes from Interstate 43. Approximately 48,000 people live in Sheboygan, with more than 115,000 people within the greater metropolitan area 

2. Columbia Energy Center – Columbia, Wisconsin 

The Columbia Energy Center is a 3,000-acre site that currently generates over 1,100 MW of energy in Columbia County. The facility is just outside of Portage, which is 35 miles north of Madison. The plant is located on the Wisconsin River, just minutes from Interstates 90/94 and Interstate 39. Portage is the closest city to the plant. An estimated 10,400 people live in Portage. The city is part of the greater Madison metropolitan area, with a population of roughly 665,000 people. 

Advancing our clean energy future 

Decommissioning our remaining Wisconsin coal plants – and adding new solar facilities – are a part of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint. We will add another 414 megawatts (MW) of solar in Wisconsin. The six projects we recently submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for approval move us closer to our goal to generate 1,000MW of solar electricity by the end of 2023.  

As we move forward with our sustainable energy plan, Alliant Energy has set a clean energy vision that aspires to reach net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050. We plan to eliminate coal from our generation fleet by 2040.  

Manufacturing 4.0: A strategic plan for a critical industry sector

manufacturing equipment

manufacturing equipmentThe Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently issued a much-anticipated Manufacturing 4.0 plan, which states that Iowa manufacturers must pursue advanced manufacturing products and processes that incorporate cutting-edge, innovative technologies. 

This report stresses that to remain competitive in the global economy, Iowa manufacturers must implement industry 4.0 principles and practices. These include internet-connected devices, additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, augmented reality and cybersecurity. Digital technologies may not replace jobs, but they will transform how work is performed – how products are designed, fabricated, used and serviced. 

Iowa’s ability to compete globally, according to the report, will depend on how successfully manufacturers transition to new operating modelsSmall-to-medium sized manufacturers will face mounting pressure from the larger manufacturers they supply. 

This plan outlines five strategic priorities: 

  1. Adopting and Utilizing Manufacturing 4.0 Technology 
  2. Enabling Infrastructure of Digital Technologies 
  3. Improving Supply Chain Linkages 
  4. Accelerating Manufacturing Startups and Scale-ups 
  5. Ensuring an Effectively Trained Workforce 

 Each section suggests specific actionto achieve success. The plan concludes with a Call-to-Action to leaders from both the public and private sectors to rally together in a coordinated and focused vision. 

Alliant Energy and Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) created theDigital Manufacturing Lab Powered by Alliant Energy to help businesses evaluate problems and find opportunities using manufacturing 4.0 technology. The lab brings students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds to help companies solve problems and stimulate innovative ideas. CIRAS can help industry test new technology such as cobots, 3-D scanning and other technology and train staff how to use it. Iowa manufacturers are encouraged to tap into this valuable resource. To learn more, visit  

Learn why Sheboygan County is where you can do more

boats in the water, Sheboygan

boats in the water, SheboyganSheboygan County, Wisconsin, is home to 11 cities and villages and features worldclass amenities, companies and talent. This small county, located between Milwaukee and Green Bay, offers businesses a global reach with a low cost of operations and offers their employees a low cost of living.  

The Sheboygan County greater metropolitan area contains one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing in the nation. Many companies locate their production facilities, company headquarters and research and developments facilities within the areaThese companies manufacture a surprisingly diverse range of products 

  • Bemis  Plastics product manufacturing. 
  • Johnsonville − Meat processing. 
  • Kohler − Enameled iron and metal sanitary ware manufacturing. 
  • Masters Gallery  Dairy-product merchant wholesalers. 
  • Sargento  Cheese manufacturing. 
  • The Vollrath Co.  Kitchen utensil, pot and pan manufacturing. 

This area of Wisconsin is an excellent location for growingindustries, including: 

  • Data centers. 
  • Food processing. 
  • Metal manufacturing.  
  • Paper and publishing. 
  • Plastic, polymers and resins. 

Community resources 

Area industry leaders are committed to growing and investing in this market, which creates unique amenities not typically found in a county of 115,000 people.  For example, a new U.S. Customs Facility at the local airport allows companies to land large jets which helps expedite international and area business operations.  Commercial passenger air service is not available here, 

Energy delivery is very reliable due to service providers such as Alliant Energy. The county is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, which makes it ideal for businesses seeking access to high volumes of water at low-cost.   

The county offers several new business parks with large lots and easy interstate access. A vibrant local housing market supports affordable housing solutions for investors.   


The county is located an hour drive from Milwaukee to the south and Green Bay to the north − at the heart of Wisconsin’s heavily populated and industrial eastern half of the state. The area’s industrial sector and several others help the county be the number one rated MSA in the nation for large employers as a percentage of labor force size.   

Incentives and economic development resources 

Communities across the county proactively respond to businesses and use available tools to develop win-win solutions to benefit long-term investorsThe Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation will launch a seed accelerator in 2021 as part of its newly adopted program of work.  

Longtime partners Alliant Energy and Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation have successfully assisted many companies to locate in this areaAsk our economic development team any questions you may have about this thriving community. 

Helping businesses provide training opportunities for a skilled workforce

welder equipment

welder equipmentOften considered the best and most flexible jobtraining program in the United States, the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program (260E) funds wide variety of employee training and development programs for companies that expand their operations or locate a new facility in the state. The program helps meet your needs, whether you require highly specialized educational programs or basic skills training for new positions. 

The program is financed through bonds sold by the regional community college. Depending on wages paid, the business then diverts either 1.5% or 3% of the Iowa state withholding taxes generated by the new positions to the community college to retire the bonds. This allows companies to offer training at essentially no cost, using funds that otherwise would have been paid to the state as withholding taxes.  

Besides increasing their worker’s productivity and company profits, businesses that participate in the program may also be reimbursed for up to 50% of their annual gross payroll costs spent for on-the-job training. They may also be eligible to receive an Iowa New Jobs Tax Credit if they increase employment in the state by at least 10%. Training can be provided by community or other local colleges, or private contractors, including in-house trainers.  

To be eligible, a business may be new to Iowa, expand their Iowa workforce or relocate to the state. Alliant Energy’s experienced Economic Development team helps companies navigate the program requirements.  

To be eligible for funding, a business must: 

  • Engage in interstate or intrastate commerce to manufacture, assemble, warehouse, wholesale or conduct research and development. 

How does the program work? 

  • Iowa’s 15 community college administer trainingAward amounts and training plans depend upon the number of new jobs pledged and starting wages. 
  • Participants may be eligible for reimbursement up to 50% of the approved award amount for on-the-job training. 

The funds can be used for a variety of valuable services, including: 

  • Job-related instruction. 
  • Skills assessment. 
  • Training equipment, materials and supplies. 
  • Customized or general instruction at your company facilities. 
  • Reimbursement of training travel costs for employees or trainers. 
  • College tuition, books and fees. 
  • Payment of a portion of new employees’ wages during training period. 

New Jobs Tax Credit 

The Iowa New Jobs Tax Credit is an Iowa corporate income tax credit available to companies that enter into a New Jobs Training Agreement (260E) and expand their Iowa employment base by 10% or more. 

The amount of this one-time tax credit will depend upon the wages a company pays and the year in which the tax credit is first claimed. The maximum tax credit in 2021 is $1,944 per new employee. Unused tax credits may be carried forward up to ten years. 

How do I get started? 

Contact us at or visit the Iowa Economic Development Authority website.  

Pet food manufacturer announces new production facility in Dubuque, Iowa

woman on porch with dog

Simmons Pet Food, a trusted leader in private label and contract manufacturing of pet food, announced in December that they will add another manufacturing plant in Dubuque, Iowa. At full capacity, the new operation will bring over 270 new jobs to the community.

The operation will be in a modern and spacious 250,000-square-foot facility in the Dubuque Industrial Center South. The building was formerly occupied by Flexsteel. The company plans to invest approximately $80 million in the project over the next three years. In the first phase of the project, Simmons will retrofit the building to manufacture canned pet food and buy the necessary production equipment. This should be completed by July 2021. In the second phase, the company will buy equipment for a second pet food canning line and construct a 75,000-square-foot distribution center and warehouse. The second phase should be completed during the second quarter of 2023.

“We are pleased to establish operations in the community of Dubuque and bring new jobs to the area with industry-leading pay and benefits,” said Scott Salmon, president of Simmons Pet Food. “The region has a quality workforce and is an ideal location to service our customers across the U.S. and Canada.”

Alliant Energy’s robust and reliable electric system attracted Simmons to Dubuque. Their operation is 24/7 and relies heavily upon uninterrupted power. Alliant Energy designed an upgrade to the primary service and a new redundant feed. The company invested approximately $1 million in both projects to serve Simmons and all future customers in the area. The project is scheduled to be completed by May 1, 2021.

As the sixth-largest pet food manufacturer in America, Simmons is an excellent addition to Alliant Energy’s current customer portfolio of pet food manufacturers, including Nestlé Purina PetCare, Mars Petcare and NaturPak Pet.