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What makes an energy mix diverse?

When it comes to renewable energy, the shift is on. Gone are the days when a single energy source dominated the energy mix. Today, we use a mix of many different types of generation sources like wind, solar and battery storage to ensure ongoing energy availability. 

Imagine a playlist that features a mix of music genres, each song contributing its unique vibe. Similarly, renewable energy sources have their own special qualities that can complement each other. A diverse energy mix increases reliability through a combination of sustainable sources rather than relying on just one. This makes for a more resilient grid and opens a world of environmental and economic advantages. 

One key piece of a diverse mix is energy storage. In the past, physical stocks of fuel such as coal piles were used to “store” energy and use when needed. As we transition away from coal, new ways to store energy have emerged including thermal, mechanical, chemical and battery storage. 

Grid-ready battery storage has proven especially useful with renewable energy generation. We can’t control when the sun shines or the wind blows, so we need a way to store the energy solar and wind projects generate. Battery storage makes this possible. We can charge an energy battery the same way we charge a phone battery to make renewable energy reliable and accessible when needed. 

Alliant Energy’s mix also includes natural gas. While it is a fossil fuel, advancements in technology have made natural gas a more environmentally conscious option than coal. Its flexibility and lower carbon emissions make it a crucial component that increases the reliability of our diverse energy mix. 

The benefits of a diverse energy mix are undeniable. Reducing dependence on a single source enhances energy security. This resilience is crucial especially during unexpected events like extreme weather or supply chain disruptions. A diverse mix also promotes economic growth by uplifting innovation and creating jobs.  

Of course, some of the more obvious benefits of having renewable energy in the mix are environmental. It significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions that speed climate change, contributing to the overall health of our planet. 

It’s essential to embrace a diverse energy mix. The combination of solar, wind, battery storage, hydropower and natural gas ensures a more sustainable, resilient energy future. As new technologies emerge, we continue to explore new, cost-effective ways to deliver the reliable energy you count on. Learn more about Alliant Energy’s work to transition to renewable energy in our Clean Energy Blueprint.
Jeff serves as Alliant Energy’s Director of Regulatory Strategy and Solutions and is responsible for the planning and strategy to execute Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint. His team coordinates resource planning, generation interconnection, market operations (MISO), and state and federal regulatory strategy. He is an experienced leader in resource planning, utility regulation, rates, energy and water policy, program evaluation and strategic thinking.

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