Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, has begun commercial operation of Cedar Ridge Wind Farm, providing an additional 68 megawatts of emissions-free wind energy for its customers.

“This is an important day for Alliant Energy and our customers as we continue to strive to meet the increasing demand for green energy,” said Bill Harvey, President and Chief Executive Officer for Alliant Energy. “The addition of Cedar Ridge to our renewable energy portfolio moves us further down the path to a greener energy future.”

Cedar Ridge consists of 41 wind turbines spread out over 12.2 square miles in the townships of Eden and Empire in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Its 68 megawatts are enough to power approximately 17,000 homes. After construction was completed this fall, tests were conducted by Alliant Energy and American Transmission Company (ATC) prior to beginning commercial operation.

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“Our investment in Cedar Ridge helps us balance the need to provide affordable energy to our customers while at the same time making sure we’re utilizing new technologies to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Barbara Swan, President WPL. “We are extremely grateful to the community leaders and residents of the Towns of Eden and Empire for their tremendous support throughout this process.”

In the next 20 years, Cedar Ridge Wind Farm is expected to offset as much as 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, 3,500 tons of nitrogen oxides, 6,000 tons of sulfur dioxides and 50 pounds of mercury. The carbon dioxide avoided is roughly the equivalent of taking 155,000 standard-size automobiles off the road each year.

WPL’s commitment to the environment extends beyond the wind energy being generated at Cedar Ridge. The Administration Building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certified. LEED is a performance-oriented rating system where building projects earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent to the design, construction and operation of the building.

Cedar Ridge is the latest example of Alliant Energy’s commitment to renewable energy choices. Building on an already-robust renewable portfolio, the company plans to add an additional 400 megawatts of wind power to its portfolio by the end of 2010. When those 400 megawatts are in commercial operation, wind energy will make up nearly 850 megawatts, or eight percent, of Alliant Energy’s overall energy mix.

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