Interstate Power and Light

From Global Energy Monitor

Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation which operates or has interests in ten coal-fired power stations.


In its 2008 annual report, Alliant Energy states that IPL "was incorporated in 1925 in Iowa as Iowa Railway and Light Corporation. IPL is a public utility engaged principally in the generation and distribution of electric energy and the distribution and transportation of natural gas in selective markets in Iowa and southern Minnesota. In Iowa, IPL provides utility services to incorporated communities as directed by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and utilizes non-exclusive franchises, which cover the use of public right-of-ways for utility facilities in incorporated communities for a maximum term of 25 years. At Dec. 31, 2008, IPL supplied electric and gas service to 525,036 and 233,836 retail customers, respectively. IPL also provides steam services to certain customers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and various other energy-related products and services. In 2008, 2007 and 2006, IPL had no single customer for which electric, gas, steam and/or other sales accounted for 10% or more of IPL’s consolidated revenues."[1]

Coal Power Plants

In its 2008 annual report, Alliant Energy reports that IPL's coal-fired power stations had an installed capacity of 1,805MW out of its total generating capacity from its coal, nuclear and oil-fired stations of 2,963MW.[2]

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity Status
Ottumwa Generating Station IA 1981 726 MW Operating
Lansing Power Station IA 1948, 1949, 1957, 1977 339 MW Operating, 3 units Retired
Milton Kapp Generating Station IA 1967 218 MW Switched to Natural Gas, Retired in 2018
Prairie Creek Generating Station IA 1951, 1958, 1967, 1997 245 MW Operating, 1 unit retired, 1 refueled to natural gas
Burlington Generating Station IA 1968 212 MW Operating, fuel switch or retirement before 2022
Sutherland Generating Station IA 1955, 1961 157 MW Retired in 2016
Dubuque Generating Station IA 1929, 1952, 1959 81.2 MW Retired in 2010 and 2017
Sixth Street Generating Station IA 1921, 1925, 1930, 1942, 1945, 1950 84.7 MW Retired in 2010

IPL's Share of Coal Power Plants

Percentage of IPL's ownership of plants in case of joint ownership:

Alliant Energy Coal Exit

In 2020, Interstate Power and Light parent company, Alliant Energy set an “aspiration” to reach net-zero carbon by 2050 and eliminate all coal power plants from its fleet by 2040.[3]

Coal Sources and Costs

In its 2008 annual report, Alliant Energy states that "the majority of the coal utilized by IPL" is from the Wyoming Powder River Basin. "A majority of this coal is transported by rail-car directly from Wyoming to IPL’s ... generating stations, with the remainder transported from Wyoming to the Mississippi River by rail-car and then via barges to the final destination."[2]

Alliant Energy also outlines that it expects the cost of coal to increase due to increased costs of supply, transport and environmental restrictions. "Average delivered fossil fuel costs are expected to continue to increase in the future due to price structures and adjustment provisions in existing coal contracts, rate structures and adjustment provisions in existing transportation contracts, fuel related surcharges incorporated by transportation carriers and recent coal and transportation market trends. Existing coal commodity contracts with terms of greater than one year have fixed future year prices that generally reflect recent market trends. A few of Alliant Energy’s existing coal contracts have provisions for price adjustments should specific indices change ... Other factors that may impact coal prices for future commitments are increasing costs for supplier mineral rights, increasing costs to mine the coal and changes in various associated laws and regulations. For example, emission restrictions related to sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and mercury, along with other environmental limitations on generating stations, continue to increase and will likely limit the ability to obtain, and further increase the cost of, adequate coal supplies. Factors that may impact future transportation rates include: the need for railroads to enhance/expand infrastructure for demand growth, corresponding investments in locomotives and the desire to improve margins on coal commensurate with margins on non-coal movements," Alliant Energy reported.[4]

Canceled Plants

In March 2009 IPL canceled plans for a $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown, the Sutherland Generating Station Unit 4, citing the economy and uncertainty over state regulations.[5] Many offered testimony against the plant (Testimony on proposed coal plants), including Dr. James E. Hansen.

Contact Details

Alliant Energy Tower
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Phone (319)786-4411

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