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|A letter from Pat Kampling||Vote your proxy online >>|
My fellow Shareowners,
I am proud to report another year of solid performance made possible through the hard work of our focused and creative employees. Based on our financial results, the board of directors increased your 2015 common stock dividend to $2.20 per share, and set the target for 2016 at $2.35 per share. When combining our stock performance and dividend payout for the last five years, your investment in Alliant Energy has delivered a higher return than the S&P 500 Index and the Edison Electric Institute Stock Index.
We continue to transform our generation system by investing in environmental controls, performance upgrades and state-of-the-art technology. We have retired or repurposed over one-third of our coalfired generation capacity since 2010. We’ve started construction on our 650-megawatt, natural-gas-fired generating facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, and a similar project in Beloit, Wisconsin is awaiting regulatory approval. By increasing the ratio of natural gas generation and renewable energy in our system, we’re improving fuel diversity.
Renewables will continue to be a growing part of our generation portfolio. Today, most of our renewable energy comes from wind, including the four wind farms we own and operate. We are also gaining valuable experience on how to integrate cost-effective solar power into our electric system.
In 2015, we installed over 1,300 solar panels at our Madison headquarters. We’re developing several other solar projects in Wisconsin and Iowa, working in some cases with partners in the community.
Our company is also making significant investments to improve our customers’ experience. We’re modernizing our electric system to make it more reliable and resilient, and expanding natural gas service to new communities and businesses. In addition, we’ve added convenient and interactive billing options through our new customer information system. As the needs of our customers grow, this system will be able to provide innovative service options.
This is, without a doubt, an exciting time to be in the utility industry. As the energy landscape evolves and our customers’ expectations change, our company is also transforming. But one thing we continue to do is provide support to our communities. Our employees and retirees volunteered nearly 90,000 hours last year, and together with the Alliant Energy Foundation, we contributed more than $5 million to support families, education and the environment.
I am honored to lead the talented, dedicated employees at Alliant Energy. They proudly serve our customers today and relentlessly plan for the best service in the future. It is to them that we owe our continued success.
Thank you for your support and commitment to our company and our customers.
Patricia Leonard Kampling
Chairman, President and CEO
Providing more options
We’ve upgraded our customer information and billing system. As part of the upgrade, the monthly bill was redesigned so that it is easier to read. The new system also allows us to offer new options to customers now and even more choices will be coming in the future.
Generating cleaner energy
We’ve been moving toward a clean energy future by installing cost-effective environmental controls and improving efficiencies at our large generating facilities. We continue to retire older, less-efficient units that are no longer economical to run. At the same time, we are expanding natural gas-fired generation and pursuing renewable resources as an important part of our overall fuel mix.
Ramping up renewables
Alliant Energy’s renewable energy capacity totals approximately 1,000 megawatts. This includes capacity from our four owned and operated wind farms as well as capacity we purchase from wind generators across Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. We also buy renewable energy from customers that generate their own power.
Cleaner energy future
Work is on schedule and on budget as we build the Marshalltown Generating Station (MGS) in Iowa. The 650-megawatt, combined-cycle, natural gas-fired facility is expected to power more than 500,000 homes. MGS is creating long-term environmental benefits and economic opportunities for Iowa. The estimated $700 million project, including the plant and pipeline, is providing 200 to 300 jobs in Marshalltown during construction.
Combined with retiring older coal-fired units that are no longer cost effective to operate, the natural gas-fired MGS will improve air quality.
Natural gas-fired generation has the ability to ramp up and ramp down quickly. This provides flexibility to better integrate renewable energy into the electric supply mix.
As Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility, said at the 2014 groundbreaking: “The Marshalltown Generating Station project will make Iowa’s air cleaner for decades while creating good-paying jobs in Iowa today. We are proud that this facility will provide reliable, cleaner and cost-competitive energy to current and future generations of Iowans in a responsible way.”
MGS is expected to begin operations by the second quarter of 2017.
Developing our future workforce
As our experienced technical employees retire, building a future workforce is imperative. Long-range planning, such as partnering with technical colleges, provides us with skilled line technicians for today and tomorrow.
Students from Southwest Technical College in Fennimore, Wisconsin, receive hands-on training in power line construction and maintenance. Once these students graduate, their relationship with Alliant Energy continues, as many of them become employees.
Expanding natural gas
Projects completed in 2015 brought low-cost natural gas service to new communities. Customers in Oakdale, Wisconsin, switched from other fuels to natural gas. More than 21 miles of new pipeline deliver safe and reliable service.
Another project from Beaver Dam to Fox Lake, Wisconsin, made gas available to new customers.
Taking care of customers
Helping our customers with limited incomes make their homes more energy efficient is important. In Iowa, we weatherized homes to create an average energy savings of $285 per home each year. In Wisconsin, we partnered with Focus on Energy to weatherize homes and realize an annual estimated savings of $309 per home.
Moving to hybrids
New hybrid bucket trucks will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 tons per year. The electric bucket is quieter and uses less gas since the truck is not running while the bucket is in use. We expect to invest in additional hybrid trucks over the next few years.
Growing our business
Our economic development team works with communities to bring businesses to our service area and helps new and existing businesses grow their operations.
When our customers are successful, the economy, our communities and our shareowners benefit.
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