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Animal nutrition industry growing in Iowa and Wisconsin

Iowa and Wisconsin are home to several major names in the animal nutrition/pet food industries including Cargill Animal Nutrition, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition, Nestle Purina PetCare and Mars Petcare. Operations in Iowa and Wisconsin are literally located in the middle of the North American market.

Over the next few years, animal nutrition production will enjoy a trend of steady growth and our location to beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry and sheep allows producers to get to the market faster and increase annual production revenue. Sales in the U.S. pet food industry are expected to continue to rise.

Read more about the animal nutrition industry

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.

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.

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.

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.