Cedar Ridge Wind Farm

Alliant Energy, of Madison, is proposing to build a 150-megawatt wind farm in north-central Iowa similar to the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm it owns in Fond du Lac County.

Alliant Energy wants to add a wind farm in Iowa to serve its Wisconsin customers.

Alliant, of Madison, filed an application with the state Public Service Commission on Wednesday to build a wind farm in north-central Iowa that could provide as much as 150 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 70,000 homes a year.

The site would be developed by Invenergy, one of the largest independent renewable-energy providers in the U.S., and then Alliant would build, own and operate the wind farm.

Called the Kossuth Wind Farm, it would include 60 turbines that could start operating in fall 2020 if regulators approve.

Its estimated cost is $255 million.

“We are providing our customers with more renewable energy that will keep rates competitive and help bolster economic development in our communities,” Alliant Energy president John Larsen said.

Alliant’s Iowa utility subsidiary also is adding wind power, with an additional 1,000 megawatts approved for that state’s customers. Together, the Iowa and Wisconsin wind projects will cost $2 billion and are expected to come online in 2020.

Alliant currently owns six wind farms with a combined potential output of 1,038 megawatts.

Alliant is also the part owner of two other wind farms, and buys power from nine others.

“We will look to see if (the Kossuth Wind Farm project) is cost-effective and needed,” said Tom Content, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin.

Today’s wind turbines — with taller towers and longer turbine blades — produce more energy at lower wind speeds than earlier versions, the utility said. That means a wind turbine now can generate four times more energy than nearly 20 years ago, Alliant said.

Alliant said its investment in wind will help the company reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The project will not affect Alliant’s plan, announced last week, to freeze base rates until 2020, the company said.

Alliant serves 958,000 electric customers and nearly 412,000 natural gas customers in Wisconsin and Iowa.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.