All Posts By

tracygehrts@alliantenergy.com

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.

Hormel Foods Corporation moves production from Nebraska to Dubuque, Iowa

Progressive Processing, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation, is shifting a production line for SPAM products from Fremont, Nebraska, to its Dubuque facility. Progressive Processing is expected to create 58 jobs, bringing total employment to over 400, with the $13 million capital investment.

The Dubuque plant originally opened in January 2010 to produce Hormel® Compleats® microwave meals and canned chunk chicken. It was the first food processing plant built by Hormel in 25 years and the only refrigerated food processing facility to possess Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at any level. The plant was later expanded in 2014 to produce the SPAM® family of products and Hormel® Real Bacon Bits.

This past summer, Crown Holdings, Inc. a leading manufacturer of packaging for the food and beverage industry announced they were relocating its production facility from Omaha to Dubuque so they can better support Hormel in supplying specialty shaped cans for their Spam line.

Online retail giant Amazon is coming to Beloit, Wisconsin

Online retailer Amazon began moving dirt on an expansive 1 million-square-foot distribution center on an 80-acre site in Beloit’s Gateway Business Park, near the interchange of I-43 and I-90-39. The estimated $130 million project is projected to create 1,000 new jobs. Construction is expected to be completed by September 2020.

Amazon marks the largest project in the 18-year history of the Gateway Business Park. Current businesses include Chicago Fittings, Kettle Foods, Kerry Ingredients, The Morse Group, NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, Specialty Tools, Staples Order Fulfillment Center and Pratt Industries.

One of the largest industrial properties in Wisconsin becomes certified

Beaver Dam Commerce Park is located in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on the city’s far north side, with four-lane U.S. Highway 151 nearby. The property totals 520-contiguous acres, is zoned industrial, located within a TIF district and has been certified “suitable for development” by Deloitte Consulting and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Nestled among three nearby metropolitan areas (Madison – 45 minutes, Milwaukee – 75 minutes and Green Bay – 90 minutes), Beaver Dam has access to an available labor pool of roughly 225,000 people within a 45 minute drive time. Users can reach over 50% of the U.S. population within one day’s truck delivery and 75% within two days. One day hauls include such destinations as Chicago, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Detroit and Des Moines.

Beaver Dam includes a healthy mix of food processing, metal fabrication and coatings, and printing. A favorable business climate and a quality workforce with over 35% of occupations in the manufacturing sector are factors driving industry growth in the community.

Alliant Energy named a “Top Utility in Economic Development”

Alliant Energy has been recognized as a “Top Utility in Economic Development” by Site Selection magazine. The magazine bases the ranking on corporate project investment, job creation figures and utility service area populations. In 2018, Alliant Energy had 49 new industrial, warehouse and large office projects, $1.438 billion in new capital investment and 3,667 new jobs across our Iowa and Wisconsin service area.

Over the last three years, we have invested in several certified industrial sites such as Big Cedar Industrial Center, Prairie View Industrial Center and Beaver Dam Commerce Park. This recognition showcases our progress in those efforts as we fuel growth for our customers and communities.

“As a company, we are all extremely proud of this prestigious award. Our economic development, account management, engineering and marketing teams have played a critical role in Alliant Energy being placed among this elite group of utilities,” said John Larsen, Chairman, President and CEO at Alliant Energy.

Alliant Energy is focused on growing both existing and new customers. Energy is a big factor in the selection of a site or the expansion of an existing customer and the energy solutions we provide have positively impacted these high-dollar expansion and construction decisions.