Alliant to talk progress on multimillion dollar project

An upcoming community meeting will touch on progress with the proposed Alliant gas-fire plant.

Officials from Alliant will hold the meeting from 8 to 9 a.m. Thursday at Fisher Community Center, 709 S. Center St.

Ryan Stensland, a spokesperson for Alliant, said the meeting is to provide a quarterly update on the project’s activity including permit and regulatory progress.

“There are no surprises coming out of this meeting,” he said. “We are still full-steam ahead with the project.”

Tom Aller, president of Interstate Power and Light Company, which owns Alliant, and Lee Hanson, director of generation construction, will be on hand to give updates and answer questions from the public.

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), the regulatory body responsible for issuing permits to give the project the green light, will hold an evidentiary hearing May 21, where the board will cross examine those who have shown support of the station’s construction.

Hanson, the new project leader, said it’s important to the company that it keeps Marshalltown citizens informed about the project’s details.

“It’s a big project for us. It’s a big project for Iowa,” he said. “We have to take it one step at a time. You have to work through the process.”

The proposed 600 megawatt station will be located near the Sutherland Station on the east edge of Marshalltown, which it will replace when that station shuts down at the end of 2014. Construction on the $750 million gas plant is slated for completion the first quarter of 2017.

Stensland said in addition to informing the community where efforts to push the project forward stand, it will also act as a forum for citizens to ask questions and raise any concerns they have.

Resistance to the project has been minimal Hanson and Stensland both said. The men both said ironing out minor details, instead of overhauling major concerns, has streamlined the process significantly.

“Nobody is disputing that we need the plant or the site of the plant,” Stensland said. “We are starting from a position of strength.”

Forging an ongoing dialogue between Alliant officials and community members and local government will help address issues before they snowball, Stensland said.

The IUB filings on the project can be found online at iub.iowa.gov. The docket numbers are GCU-2012-0001 and RPU-2012-0003.