01STOCK_SOLARPANELS

The 75-megawatt Crawfish River Solar Project to be built in the town of Jefferson in Jefferson County is officially changing hands from Ranger Power and D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments to Alliant Energy.

The change in ownership, announced Monday, comes after the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved Alliant’s proposal to add 675 megawatts of solar energy to its generation portfolio.

“Alliant Energy is leading the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future,” said Ben Lipari, Alliant’s director of project development and customer solutions. “We are making significant solar investments in southcentral Wisconsin, including the Crawfish River Project, as part of that long-term plan. This new solar project will create hundreds of jobs, spur economic development and deliver long-term cost savings for our Wisconsin customers.”

Lipari said it was good to work with Ranger Power through the development phase of the project and that Alliant looks forward to partnering with them as their engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Alliant is contracting with a subsidiary of DESRI to build the project west of Jefferson near Highway 18. Work on about 500 acres is expected to begin in the spring with a targeted completion date in late 2022, according to Alliant.

During construction, more than 250 jobs are expected to be created. Alliant representatives said once the solar project is operational, it will generate enough electricity to power nearly 20,000 Wisconsin homes.

“Combined, the town and county will receive an estimated $300,000 in annual shared revenues for the next 30 years to be used as determined by local communities and their elected officials,” Alliant stated.

In May 2020, Alliant Energy introduced its plan to build six large-scale solar projects in Wisconsin. Then in March 2021, the company announced plans to build six more projects, which would make Alliant the largest owner and operator of solar energy in the state of Wisconsin.

The 12 solar project proposals would be built in nine Wisconsin counties. Collectively, they would add nearly 1,100 megawatts of solar energy generation to the state’s energy grid, enough to power nearly 300,000 homes. Alliant says these projects would help customers save more than $2 billion in long-term costs and that they will also deliver steady revenue through new construction opportunities, create an estimated 2,000 construction jobs, and provide about $300 million in revenue to local communities and landowners over an estimated project lifespan of 30 years, the company said.

Other counties where Alliant wants to build solar installations are Rock, Green, Richland, Grant, Dodge, Sheboygan, Waushara and Wood.

The company says solar installations have a low profile, are almost silent, and generate zero emissions, odors or harmful byproducts. During operation, planted prairie grasses and pollinator habitats create a hospitable environment for pollinating insects and birds. When projects reach the end of their useful life—about 30 years—Alliant can choose to extend them or remove the equipment and restore the land for use as desired, including for agriculture.

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