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Alliant Energy's Cedar Ridge Wind Farm

Alliant Energy's Cedar Ridge Wind Farm

How does technology affect the cost of wind power? Advancements in technology — as well as the way new wind farms are built and operated — are making this renewable resource more economic for customers.

The development of longer blades and larger generators has dramatically improved the efficiency of wind turbines, enabling them to produce more energy. While you may not notice physical differences as you drive past them, today’s wind turbines can produce more than double the energy they did 10 years ago.

Specifically, technology advances have lowered the price of wind energy by two-thirds over the past six years. And, because wind energy doesn’t use fossil fuels, customers receive significant fuel-cost savings to help stabilize their monthly bills.

For example, think about all the gadgets you charge at home — from your cellphone to smart devices. Even with all the new ways you are using energy, our company is leveraging technologies, like those now available for wind generation, to provide customers with sustainable energy at an affordable price.

In December, Alliant Energy celebrated the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm’s 10-year anniversary. This facility, located near Fond du Lac,  was our first owned-and-operated wind farm. Generating electricity through wind has become increasingly cost-effective for our customers since then.

As a result, our company is in the process of making more wind investments. For example, last month, we received state approval to build a wind farm for our Wisconsin customers that will be located in Iowa, where the winds are stronger.

Wind energy is a key component of our energy vision, which includes using new technologies to provide more renewable options for customers, improving the efficiency of the energy distribution system and lowering emissions.

In this new year, we are excited to continue to partner with our customers and communities to keep costs low while helping them achieve their renewable and sustainability goals. We are aggressively pursuing strategies to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent and eliminate all existing coal from our energy mix by 2050.

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Incorporating new, emerging and yet-to-be-developed technologies into our business will remain a priority as we work to provide customers with affordable and reliable energy in our transition to a clean energy future.

David de Leon is president of Alliant Energy – Wisconsin.

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