Iowa-based Alliant Energy Corp.’s Wisconsin utility has closed a $400 million purchase of a 600 MW natural gas-fired generation plant in Beloit, WI, from Calpine Corp. The Riverside Energy Center LLC was owned and operated by Calpine, which sold the bulk of its output to Alliant’s Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (WPL). Since it began operations in 2004, the Riverside plant sold 500 MW to WPL. Calpine CEO Jack Fusco said the sale helps advance the strategic objectives of both his company and WPL. Calpine has 92 power plants operating or under construction, all of them gas-fired or renewable geothermal facilities.

Renewable energy development tax credits were extended as part of Congress’ passage Tuesday of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, or “fiscal cliff” legislation, drawing praise from Washington, DC-based wind and geothermal trade associations. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimated that 37,000 jobs will be saved and more created in the future with the extension of wind energy production tax credits (PTC) and investment tax credits (ITC). AWEA said that the wind industry installed the most new generating capacity in the United States in 2012; factories for making wind power equipment or wind projects exist in all 50 states; and the extended PTC and ITC will cover projects that start construction this year. The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) applauded changes made in the incentive extensions allowing qualifying projects to be based on their status “under construction,” which the GEA thinks will help technologies such as geothermal that have what it called “longer development lead times.” GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell said his organization estimates that new geothermal projects could start this year in a dozen states as a result of the federal law change.

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