By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2021

PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) - The operator of Wisconsin’s second-largest coal plant plans to shut it down by 2025 as utilities continue to shift away from fossil fuels.

Alliant Energy told employees of the Columbia Energy Center near Portage of the plan Tuesday.

Closing the 45-year-old plant will allow Alliant to avoid $250 million in maintenance and upgrade costs while also speeding the company’s transition to clean energy, said David de Leon, president of the utility company in Wisconsin.

“It’s a facility that’s served our customers well for many, many years,” de Leon said. “Columbia’s provided a tremendous amount of energy for the entire state.”

De Leon said Alliant is on track to meet and possibly exceed its goal to cut half its carbon emissions by 2030 as it pursues plans to become the largest solar energy generator in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.



Retiring the 1,100-megawatt plant early will eliminate an estimated 97 million tons of carbon dioxide as well as smog-causing pollutants such as nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, officials said.

“It’s an enormous win for the state, for the climate, for public health,” said Katie Nekola, general counsel for Clean Wisconsin. “And it makes economic sense.”

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