TOWN OF BELOIT—After navigating a series of hurdles and setbacks, Alliant Energy officials say the West Riverside Energy Center will soon begin churning out power in the Stateline Area.
One issue was accidentally using well water in the facility, which delayed scheduled steam blow tests late last year. Crews had to clean out debris in order for pure H2O to flow through and produce steam efficiently.
The facility is soon expected to begin operating at full capacity this spring, said Bob Newell, Senior Manager of Strategic Projects.
“The inside of these tubes have to be absolutely spick and span,” Newell said. “Whatever it was that was in there, we finally cleaned it all out.”
When the Beloit Daily News visited the plant Jan. 17, the facility was 98% complete. Hundreds of workers have poured millions of working hours into the facility.
The freshly scrubbed out steam turbines were scheduled for additional testing at the end of February.
The roughly $700 million facility is projected to produce 730 megawatts of electricity, powering roughly 550,000 homes or businesses in the area, according to information provided by Alliant Energy Senior Communications Partner Scott Reigstad.
The plant has two natural gas-fired units, complete with steam turbines that recycle some energy.
Reigstad said natural gas facilities create 50% fewer emissions than coal-fired plants, adding that sustainability and being environmentally conscious are key areas of focus for Alliant Energy.
“These plants are so efficient because we’re using all the leftover heat,” said Paul Gregor, Plant Manager at West Riverside Energy Center.
Gregor added that Alliant Energy crews have gone more than 2,500 days without any on-site injuries.
This spring, Alliant Energy also plans to install four acres of solar panels at the site to produce additional clean energy. Construction on the solar site is projected to wrap up in September.