Iowa’s only nuclear power plant shut down in 2020. Now there are plans to build the state’s biggest solar farm on and around the site.
“We are quite excited about bringing meaningful amounts of additional solar forward here over these next number of years,” says Ben Lipari of Alliant Energy, the utility company that will own and operate the project.
It will include enough solar panels to power tens of thousands of homes and batteries to store energy for times when it’s needed.
Lipari expects it to be up and running in 2024.
He says using the site of the retired Duane Arnold nuclear plant will be cheaper than building elsewhere, because the facility is already equipped with the infrastructure needed to connect to the grid.
“Those facilities are already there,” Lipari says. “And so there will be some improvements to them, but at modest cost which is important for the economics of the project.”
And though the solar farm will not replace all of the energy and jobs that the nuclear plant provided, it will generate hundreds of temporary construction jobs, ongoing tax revenue, and income for property owners who are leasing land to the project.
So it will provide an economic boost for the local community and get more renewable energy on the grid.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media