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Alliant Energy announces wind farm near Hampton

CEDAR RAPIDS – Alliant Energy announced Wednesday a $1 billion expansion of a wind farm just south of Hampton in Franklin County.

Whispering Willow Wind Farm now operates at 200 megawatts. It will expand to 700 megawatts though no new turbines will be going up until next year, officials said.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were on hand for the announcement in Cedar Rapids.

Alliant is seeking regulatory approval for the Whispering Willow expansion and will possibly develop wind energy in other parts of the state, according to Alliant Chief Executive Officer Patricia Kampling.

It is part of a five-year project, but Alliant is seeking approval now to maximize the value of renewable energy tax credits, she said.

In addition to potential savings to customers and a commitment to clean energy, the project is expected to generate millions of dollars in property taxes and result in more than 1,500 jobs at the height of construction.

Alliant is based in Cedar Rapids and provides electric service to 487,000 customers and natural gas service to 226,000 customers in more than 600 communities, including many in North Iowa.

This is the second major expansion of wind energy enterprises in Iowa in the past three months.

In April, MidAmerican Energy, which serves parts of North Iowa, announced a $3.6 billion plan to add 1,000 wind turbines in Iowa.