July 2017 edition
Solar shines bright
Largest solar site in Iowa under construction
Work is underway on a $10 million project to install over 15,000 solar panels on a 21-acre site in Dubuque, Iowa. Alliant Energy’s new solar array will be capable of generating 5 megawatts of energy. The array will be the largest solar site in the state of Iowa and lays the groundwork for additional solar expansion elsewhere in Alliant Energy’s service area.
Work is also underway on a second solar site in Dubuque with 3,500 solar panels on six acres of land that was used for more than 80 years as a factory and foundry site. This project will produce 1.2 megawatts of energy.
New Wisconsin natural gas generating station to include solar field
A new highly-efficient natural gas generating station is under construction near Beloit, Wisconsin. This new facility will meet long-term customer energy needs and help replace power from the retirements of older, smaller and less efficient coal-fired and peaking units. It will also complement our growing investments in renewable energy with an integrated solar field. The clean energy from the sun will be delivered to the natural gas facility and offset its auxiliary power needs.
Alliant Energy studying solar with learning lab
We’re learning more about how solar energy and energy battery storage technologies work in our region through our learning lab located at the Alliant Energy headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. We are gathering operational data on 10 different models of solar panels employing three different types of technologies. This experience better positions us and our customers to make educated decisions in making energy choices. It also further develops knowledge for us and our industry.
Learn more about Alliant Energy's solar generation
Project roundupThe latest projects in Iowa and Wisconsin
Mercury Marine continues to grow in Fond du Lac, WIMercury Marine continues to have a strong economic effect on the Fond du Lac, WI community and surrounding region. Mercury continues to be one of the top employers in the state of Wisconsin, now employing 3,200 people at its global headquarters in Fond du Lac. Mercury’s employment in June 2017 is more than double what it was in 2009.
Since 2009, Mercury has invested more than $800 million in R&D and expansion to its global headquarters; more than 80% of the work completed during that growth was done with Wisconsin based companies.
In January, Mercury Marine officially opened its new 49,000-square-foot electro-deposition paint (EDP) primer system expansion. In April, Mercury Marine officially announced the commissioning of the largest high-pressure die casting machine in North America.
In 2009, Mercury Marine evaluated leaving the state of Wisconsin. Due in part to an Economic Development electric rate provided by Alliant Energy along with local and state incentives, the company chose to stay and thrive in Fond du Lac.
Barilla expands operation in Ames, IowaBarilla S.p.A. began construction on a 71,000 square foot expansion in Ames, IA. The new operation will accommodate two additional processing lines, a rail yard expansion and six new silos to store wheat. The project will have a capital investment of approximately $62 million and will add 41 new jobs to the current workforce of 180.
The Parma, Italy based company has had a location in Ames since 1997. The pasta company last expanded in 2015, which included a $26.5 million investment that added two new production lines and new packaging equipment.
Ames was chosen for the expansion over the city of Avon, NY, the site of Barilla’s other plant in North America.
Lesaffre adding new plant in Cedar Rapids, IowaWork began this spring on a new blending facility for Lesaffre Yeast Corporation’s Saf-Pro line of baking ingredients in Cedar Rapids, IA. The new plant will produce customized baking ingredients with the goal of expanding Lesaffre’s presence in the growing market for ‘clean label” baked goods. The $25 million project is expected to be done by November 2017 and employ 25 people.
Consumer bakeries, like other food manufacturers, are responding to the demand for baked goods consumers view as healthier. Although the trend is most associated with small batch bakeries producing artisanal goods, large commercial bakeries are also shifting more production toward European-style breads with less fat and sugar.
The capability to quickly respond to commercial bakeries’ specific needs with shorter turnaround and shipping times is a key reason for locating the plant in Cedar Rapids. The site also offered synergies with Lesaffre’s adjacent Red Star Yeast and BioSpringer yeast extracts plants.
Flexsteel brings 200 jobs to Dubuque, IowaFlexsteel Industries, Inc. announced plans to relocate their manufacturing operations to a new 22-acre site in Dubuque, IA. The company will invest over $28 million to construct and equip a new state-of-the-art 250,000 square foot facility. Work is slated to begin later this summer and is scheduled to come on line in fall 2018. The operation will employ a minimum of 200 people. The operation will produce Flexsteel’s patented blue steel spring and seating items for vehicles.
Flexsteel Industries is America’s finest designer, importer, and marketer of upholstered and wood furniture for residential, office, hospitality, health care, and recreational vehicle markets. In FY 2016, the company posted net income of $24.2 million, on record net sales of $500 million.