After more than a century in operation, Alliant Energy officially ceased generating electricity at the Dubuque Generating Station last weekend.
Alliant spokesman Mike Wagner said Sunday marked the final day for the plant, located at 920 Kerper Blvd.
Wagner said prior to this week, the facility only was used in situations where customers were using “peak energy.”
“It has recently been used as what we call a ‘peaker,’” he said. “Those are facilities that we only utilize when there is great energy demand or great energy use. We haven’t had to use the facility since March.”
Now, the facility is unavailable even in times of peak energy use, Wagner said. He said the opening of the Marshalltown Generating Station, which came on line April 1, means Alliant has plenty of resources to draw from.
He said the utilization of greater wind energy resources helps as well.
Wagner said the closure affects 12 employees who worked at the facility.
“We notified these workers about our plans (to close the generating station) a couple of years ago,” he said. “Some chose to stick with it until the closure and then retire. Others have accepted different roles within the company. And there were some who have pursued a career outside the company.”
The closure of the Dubuque Generating Station caps a month of major transition for Alliant Energy.
In mid-May, the utility started work on a $10 million project that will install 15,624 solar panels on a 21-acre site in Dubuque near Humke Road. In addition to this site, crews will install solar panels on six acres along U.S. 61/151 near the 16th Street detention basin.
Cori Burbach, sustainable community coordinator with the City of Dubuque, said Alliant’s shift toward cleaner energy began well before this year.
In 2011, the plant underwent a switch from coal to natural gas.
“Back when they were coal-fired, Alliant was the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in our community,” Burbach said. “When they switched to natural gas, that was a big improvement to our air quality. With that station shutting down, we will continue to see improvements.”
While the station cannot be used for generating power, Alliant’s work on the structure is not done, Wagner said.
He said asbestos abatement on the property is slated to begin toward the end of 2017. Once that is complete, the utility plans to knock the building down.
“We expect demolition to begin in the late summer of next year,” Wagner said.