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tracygehrts@alliantenergy.com

United Alloy headquarters in Janesville, Wisc. gears up to support Texas expansion

United Alloy, Inc., based in Janesville, Wisc., is expanding into Seguin, Texas with a new $35 million facility. The 200,000 square-foot facility will sit on a 27-acre site and employ 100 people.

The headquarters plant in Janesville is currently installing the first of three robotic material handling systems that will provide additional capacity to supply the new facility in Texas. The equipment in Janesville will be operational once training of 30 additional team members is complete.

United Alloy made the decision to continue growing the Janesville plant, the hub of the US operations, due to their ability to draw highly skilled employees within the market. Blackhawk Technical College has partnered with United Alloy Academy training welders and fabricators the last five years. United Alloy has grown to over 400 employees in Janesville and is the largest welding, robotic welding and powder coating workforce in the Midwest.

The 20-year-old United Alloy location in Janesville has expanded three times in the last seven years. “United Alloy is growing because of our track record of attracting Wisconsin employees capable of building a world class organization,” said Tom Baer, United Alloy Chairman.

United Alloy, Inc. is a serial production metal fabrication and powder coating company that produces leak-proof metal fuel tanks, reservoirs, skids, frames, chassis, trailers, heavy metal fabrications and complex weldments.

Sustainable companies see faster growth

PepsiCo has announced plans to achieve 100% electricity for its U.S. operations this year. The company cited the threat of climate change as its biggest driver for switching to renewable energy. This move signals a significant shift by manufacturers to responsibly source energy and reduce emissions. According to a recent Nielsen report, consumers are also paying attention – companies with sustainability initiatives are growing faster than the ones that do not. “No matter what, sustainability is no longer a niche play: your bottom-line and brand growth depend on it,” the report states.

Alliant Energy understands this growing focus on sustainable energy and is working to meet these companies’ needs. The company recently announced a suite of renewable options that enables businesses in its Iowa and Wisconsin service area to meet 100% of their energy usage.

“We’re accelerating our transition to a clean energy future and putting renewable energy to work for our customers,” said John Larsen, Chairman, President and CEO of Alliant Energy.

With several offerings, companies can mix and match the different options to best fit their needs. Customers can even establish their own dedicated solar projects without needing internal expertise. Alliant Energy will build and maintain solar projects on behalf of customers.

Alliant Energy also leases space from customers for rooftop or ground-mounted solar and battery installations. Companies can turn their property into a source of income and demonstrate their commitment to renewable energy.

Several community solar sites across Wisconsin and Iowa are also in the works. Anyone interested in supporting sustainable energy can buy in. Participants can buy blocks in a local project and cover up to 100% of their usage.

Read more about Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint in our Powering What’s Next plan.

Iowa State University building new feed mill and grain science complex to better serve industry

Iowa State University is constructing a $21.2 million Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex on a 10-acre site of university-owned land in Ames, Iowa. The complex will include a feed mill tower, feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins, warehouse and an educational building with classrooms. Completion of the compound is expected during the summer of 2021.

The state-of-the-art complex will enhance teaching programs related to feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition. Classes and short courses will be taught, research conducted and animal feed prepared. Students and industry trainees will use the complex to learn how to keep the food system secure and sustainable.

When completed, the facilities will provide hands-on learning experiences for students across majors such as animal science, agricultural biosystems engineering, agricultural business and more. This past fall, a new minor in feed technology debuted, developed by faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering along with faculty in the Department of Animal Science. The minor will help prepare students to meet a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the feed and grain industries.

The complex will reinforce the quality of research by Iowa State faculty, serving as a source for custom-made animal feeds for academic studies. The facility also will be a hub for continuing education and extension programs for employees in feed milling and grain industries. It will provide extension and outreach programs on topics that include feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition.

The mill will have a capacity of approximately 20,000 tons of feed per year to meet needs of ISU classes, tours, short courses, research diets, internships, small batches and rations for livestock and poultry.

Iowa leads the nation in the amount of animal feed consumed at more than 21 million tons a year. The feed industry in the state represents more than $20 billion in sales and more than 58,000 jobs in Iowa are connected to the industry.

Life is good in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

Beaver Dam is a growing city of 16,000+ residents. With a 6,000-acre lake, vibrant parks, wide array of visual and performing arts, numerous festivals and plentiful healthcare options, quality of life is thriving. Beaver Dam carries on a tradition of academic excellence with a variety of educational resources, including an international preparatory academy and a technical college for lifelong learning. Quality employers, a diverse workforce, great entrepreneurship atmosphere and growing retail marketplace all combine to make it an excellent place for business, too.

Beaver Dam has also adopted goals to become an energy-independent community. Specifically, they plan to generate 25% of electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025 and capture 10% of the emerging bio-industry and renewal energy market by 2030.

Moraine Park Technical College is part of Wisconsin’s premier technical college system. Over 16,000 students attend Moraine Park, which awarded over 1,400 degrees in 2019. Moraine Park works with businesses to understand current and future needs. Moraine Park also works directly with businesses to develop customized solutions that build skills businesses need to compete.

Find your next site at Beaver Dam Commerce Park

One of the largest available business properties in Wisconsin, Beaver Dam Commerce Park totals 520 contiguous acres adjacent to four-lane U.S. Highway 151. The site is less than 90 minutes from Milwaukee and 3.5 hours from Chicago. Reach the Twin Cities, Des Moines, Indianapolis and Detroit in one-day hauls.

Food manufacturers flourish across Iowa and Wisconsin

Alliant Energy continues to draw the attention of global leaders in the food production industry, serving 21 of the 100 largest food manufacturers in the nation across our Iowa and Wisconsin service area.  Our company prides itself in being an energy solutions partner that helps food production customers mitigate the risks of keeping pace with the rapidly changing consumer demands within the industry.

If your food-processing clients are looking to expand or relocate into the Midwest market, you will find that Alliant Energy understands the specific needs of the industry. In addition, our locale provides a motivated and well-educated workforce. The area offers a steady stream of food specialists through Iowa State University’s Food Science Program and the University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate and master’s degrees in food science.

We’re currently working with three of our food-processing customers to launch expansion projects. Collectively, these projects will create 482 new jobs and inject over $90 million in new capital investment.

Conagra expands Ft. Madison, Iowa plant

Conagra Brands’ plant in Fort Madison, Iowa makes Vienna Sausage, Nalley Chili and Brooks Beans. The expansion involves a significant investment of machinery and equipment to produce canned beans. Fort Madison was selected because it has the best production capabilities and is geographically situated closer to the source of ingredients.

Conagra Brands is one of North America’s leading branded foods companies. Conagra Brands’ portfolio includes Birds Eye, Healthy Choice, Banquet, Marie Callender’s, Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee and Gardein.

Lopez Foods adds facility in Cherokee, Iowa for meat line

Lopez Foods recently purchased and will remodel a 285,000 square-foot facility in Cherokee, Iowa. Lopez Foods will produce Canadian-style bacon logs, fresh and frozen beef patties and other new product lines to be sold to an international restaurant chain.

Lopez Foods is recognized among the top meat companies in the United States and is an industry leader in supplying a variety of protein products to the largest restaurant chains and retailers in the world.

BioSpringer expands yeast extract facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

BioSpringer North America is expanding its production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where it produces yeast extract. Like herbs and spices, yeast extract is used by food companies and restaurants as an aromatic ingredient to design more flavorful food and beverage recipes, such as soups, sauces, seasonings and snacks but also in ready-made meals, meats and more.

BioSpringer’s operation in Cedar Rapids is part of a complex where parent company LeSaffre produces Red Star yeast products and sister company Saf-Pro manufactures specialty blends and concentrates to serve a growing demand in the artisanal baked goods category.

Prairie View Industrial Center becomes Iowa’s second certified Super Park

Governor Kim Reynolds announces the 730-acre industrial park offers growth opportunities in Ames

Alliant Energy’s Prairie View Industrial Center has become our latest Growth Site to reach certification as a Super Park. The independent, third-party certification was conducted by nationally recognized firm Quest Site Solutions. The certification will save large industrial prospects several months of time and money by having various environmental surveys and archaeological studies already completed. Our site certification program is performed in the spirit of full disclosure, to reduce the risk a company might face when determining whether the site is a good fit.

Prairie View Industrial Center is centrally located just east of Interstate 35 and north of four-lane U.S. Highway 30. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive of the Super Park. The Union Pacific Railroad provides service via a double track, adjacent to the property, that runs east-to-west and connects to the main line.

Prairie View’s location allows tenants immediate access to one of North America’s premiere research institutions, Iowa State University. The land-grant university has over 36,000 students with more than 9,500 engineering students, and nearly 5,400 enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Alliant Energy accelerates renewable energy in Wisconsin

Alliant Energy accelerates renewable energy in Wisconsin 

We recently announced our Powering What’s Next plan, which will accelerate the transition to cleaner energy for our customers in Wisconsin.

The first milestone of the plan will expand our Wisconsin solar energy generation by up to 1,000 megawatts by the end of 2023. Next year, we will break ground on our first community solar project in Fond du Lac County. “By building new solar energy resources, we are contributing to a brighter future for our customers and the communities we serve,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company.

The Powering What’s Next plan outlines several key areas of focus to help customers participate in a cleaner, technology-intensive energy future.

Clean Energy Blueprint

We’ve created a Clean Energy Blueprint for our Wisconsin customers. It provides the underlying analysis to accelerate our transition to renewable energy and provide cost-effective service to our customers.

Smarter energy use

New programs will allow customers to take advantage of budget-friendly billing options, move usage to off-peak times, and learn how to use appliance settings and smart home technologies to conserve energy.

Your energy, your choice

We now offer customers more options to rely on renewable energy. Customers can:

  • Choose to have up to 100% of their energy supplied by renewable sources
  • Participate in a customer-hosted, utility-owned solar panel program through roof-leasing designed for medium-sized projects of ~200kw
  • Interconnect private solar panels to the power grid
  • Aggregate service for large customers with multiple accounts under a single renewable energy contract

Alliant Energy’s grid of the future: Strategic telecommunications (fiber) will play a key role

Telecommunication is a foundational element of the Grid Modernization Program 

Alliant Energy’s Grid Modernization Program is transforming the distribution grid into a digital system with continuous two-way flow of electricity and information. The projects within the program leverage new technologies, tools, data and practices to meet emerging customer requirements. This will lead us toward our Grid of the Future.

Future electric distribution will require secure two-way flow of increasing amounts of data. That’s where our Strategic Telecommunications Project comes in. We’re replacing leased third-party telecommunications capacity and installing our own fiber optic networks.

Fiber optic cable is the preferred network backbone because the grid of the future will be far more data intensive. Sensors, smart meters, fault interrupters and other digital devices are transforming how customers receive, use and generate energy. This means massive amounts of information will need to flow back and forth smoothly, securely and continuously.

The following map shows the core fiber ring we’re installing between now and the end of 2020.

Our fiber networks will create strong digital highways. They will also improve connectivity for the rural portions of our service area, where delivering consistent high-speed online access has been a challenge. Future project phases will use wireless technology to expand the fiber network and bring connectivity to an increasing number of distributed grid devices.

Two Alliant Energy wind farms win Envision Platinum Award for sustainable infrastructure

The Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure recently announced that two of Alliant Energy’s wind farms — Upland Prairie in Everly, Iowa and English Farms in Montezuma, Iowa — received the Envision Platinum award for sustainable infrastructure. To earn Envision Platinum, a project delivers an exemplary range of environmental, social, and economic benefits to the host and affected communities.

Alliant Energy anticipates increasing our renewable energy capacity from 20% in 2018 to 33% in 2024. Completion of the Upland Prairie and English Farms Wind Farms, with a projected combined energy capacity of 470 megawatts, represents significant progress towards meeting this goal.

The project team selected the wind turbines based on several key factors, including high-performance, durability and noise reduction. The new turbines selected by Alliant Energy can withstand higher wind speeds and have an increased capacity. With higher-performing turbines, fewer units are needed per project. This minimizes disturbance to ecologically sensitive areas, such as wetlands, on the project site.

“We are continuing to transition our generating fleet to cleaner, more cost-effective sources, which will promote a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050,” said Terry Kouba, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company.

Other Alliant Energy projects have previously been recognized for sustainability with Envision awards. Our Marshalltown Generating Station and Dubuque Solar projects have each earned Envision Platinum for sustainability. The Upland Prairie and English Farms wind farms bring Alliant Energy’s total number of Envision awards to four.

Cargill announces expansion at Eddyville, Iowa Bioprocessing complex

Cargill is expanding one of their key corn-milling sites, a plant that grinds over 275,000 bushels daily, in Eddyville, Iowa. The $128.3 million project includes upgrades to bioprocessing equipment, expanded capacity of its wastewater facility, expansion of the research and development area and new office space. Seventeen new jobs will be created to support the operation’s latest growth, bringing total employment to over 500 people at the facility.

The Cargill Eddyville plant is a $1 billion-dollar investment that creates food ingredients for products “working to feed the world.” Its 2,000-acre campus is one of its largest food ingredients operations across the country, and allows the company to supply a variety of products to co-location partners, Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Ajinomoto Heartland and Wacker Biosolutions.