Agreement reached to move proposed Marshalltown electric plant forward

An agreement’s been reached between Alliant Energy subsidiary, Interstate Power and Light Company, and the Office of Consumer Advocate that keeps plans on track for a new natural gas electric plant in Marshalltown.  Alliant spokesperson, Ryan Stensland, says the company and Consumer Advocate settled their differences on three rate issues.

“They weren’t major differences — but they were differences none the less — in just some of the cost parameters of the project. The rate of return and some of the other rate-making type of principles that would be set and that really defines how will we pay for the plant, and what are those limits for costs incurred on the plant,” Stensland says.

The company for example wanted an 11.25-percent return on equity for the project. “They believed it should be 11-percent and so, essentially we were a quarter of a percent off and I think we realized that hey, we can definitely work with that,” according to Stensland.

“This really at the end of the day is a win-win for our customers. It helps keep the project moving forward, but at the same time it also sets what we believe are some fair and reasonable rate-making principles.” The agreement now goes to the Iowa Utilities Board for approval.

He says there will be a hearing on May 21st in Marshalltown, and he says since they have settled with the OCA, he does not expect it to be a lengthy hearing, although there are others who have raised concerns about the plant that are expected to testify. Stensland says they then expect the IUB to make a decision on approving the project by the end of the year.

That would then allow them to take the final steps toward building the plant. Stensland says they will still need to get approval to build a pipeline to bring the natural gas to the plant, along with an air permit for the plant’s operation from the DNR.

“So when we have all of that approved and have all of those permits in hand, then we’ll start to sink steel which we anticipate sometime in mid to late 2014,” Stensland says. The proposed plant would generate 600 megawatts of electricity.