ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Alliant Energy maintains its principal executive offices in Madison, Wisconsin. Alliant Energy operates as a regulated investor-owned public utility holding company, and its purpose-driven strategy is to serve its customers and build strong communities. Alliant Energy’s primary focus is to provide regulated electric and natural gas service to approximately 985,000 electric and approximately 425,000 natural gas customers in the Midwest through its two public utility subsidiaries, IPL and WPL. The primary first tier wholly-owned subsidiaries of Alliant Energy are as follows:
1) IPL - is a public utility engaged principally in the generation and distribution of electricity and the distribution and transportation of natural gas to retail customers in select markets in Iowa. IPL provides utility services to incorporated communities as directed by the IUB and utilizes non-exclusive franchises, which cover the use of public right-of-ways for utility facilities in incorporated communities for a maximum term of 25 years. At December 31, 2021, IPL supplied electric and natural gas service to approximately 500,000 and 225,000 retail customers, respectively, in Iowa. IPL also sells electricity to wholesale customers in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. IPL is also engaged in the generation and distribution of steam for two customers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
2) WPL - is a public utility engaged principally in the generation and distribution of electricity and the distribution and transportation of natural gas to retail customers in select markets in Wisconsin. WPL operates in municipalities pursuant to permits of indefinite duration and state statutes authorizing utility operation in areas annexed by a municipality. At December 31, 2021, WPL supplied electric and natural gas service to approximately 485,000 and 200,000 retail customers, respectively. WPL also sells electricity to wholesale customers in Wisconsin.
3) CORPORATE SERVICES - provides administrative services to Alliant Energy, IPL, WPL and AEF.
4) AEF - Alliant Energy’s non-utility holdings are organized under AEF, which manages a portfolio of wholly-owned subsidiaries and additional holdings, including the following distinct platforms:
ATI - currently holds all of Alliant Energy’s interest in ATC Holdings. ATC Holdings is comprised of a 16% ownership interest in ATC and a 20% ownership interest in ATC Holdco LLC. ATC is an independent, for-profit, transmission-only company. ATC Holdco LLC holds Duke-American Transmission Company, LLC, a joint venture between Duke Energy Corporation and ATC, that owns electric transmission infrastructure in North America.
Corporate Venture Investments - includes various minority ownership interests in regional and national venture funds, including a coalition with different energy companies across the U.S., working together to help identify and research innovative products, technologies and business models within the emerging energy economy.
Non-utility Wind Farm - includes a 50% cash equity ownership interest in a 225 MW non-utility wind farm located in Oklahoma.
Sheboygan Falls Energy Facility - is a 347 MW, simple-cycle, natural gas-fired EGU near Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, which is leased to WPL for an initial period of 20 years ending in 2025.
Travero - is a diversified supply chain solutions company, including a short-line rail freight service in Iowa; a Mississippi River barge, rail and truck freight terminal in Illinois; freight brokerage services; and a rail-served warehouse in Iowa, which began operations in 2021.
B. INFORMATION RELATING TO ALLIANT ENERGY ON A CONSOLIDATED BASIS
1) HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT - Alliant Energy’s core purpose is to serve customers and build strong communities. We constantly strive to attract, retain and develop a diverse and qualified workforce of high-performing employees, and create and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging for all employees.
Employees - At December 31, 2021, Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL had the following full- and part-time employees:
|Total||Number of||Percentage of Employees|
|Number of||Bargaining Unit||Covered by Collective|
|Alliant Energy||3,313||1,788 ||54%|
The majority of IPL’s bargaining unit employees are covered by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 204 (Cedar Rapids) collective bargaining agreement, which expires on August 31, 2024. All of WPL’s bargaining unit employees are covered by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 965 collective bargaining agreement, which expires on May 31, 2022.
Safety - Safety is integral to our company’s culture. It is one of our Values – “Live safety. Everyone. Always. Our first priority is that nobody gets hurt.” Alliant Energy is committed to providing a safe environment for our employees, visitors, customers, contractors, vendors and the communities in which we live and work.
We focus on the proactive management of our safety performance. Our comprehensive behavioral safety-based program consists of leading indicators, lagging indicators and targeted focus programs. We utilize a formal safety management system to capture and track best practices, near misses, job site briefings, safety observations, safety conversations and any unsafe conditions. This system provides the insights needed to help drive a positive safety culture and help ensure compliance with safety rules, processes and procedures. We also use this system to broadly share lessons learned in support of shaping the mindsets and behaviors needed to help prevent similar events from occurring elsewhere. Collectively, this information is used to evaluate the safety performance of the executive and management teams related to their goals, and safety metrics are factored into short-term incentive awards.
We maintain executive and local safety leadership teams to establish our safety vision, strategy and priorities, and ensure education and recognition of employee actions that improve our safety culture. This leadership provides strong support for sustained growth of both employee and public safety programs and initiatives.
Public safety is equally important as we interact with our customers to provide energy to their homes and businesses. We offer awareness campaigns, natural gas and electric public safety presentations, and free online resources and training programs and guidance to assist local emergency responders.
Refer to “Overview – COVID-19” in MDA for discussion of certain employee safety protocols related to COVID-19.
Total Rewards - Our market-competitive Total Rewards programs are designed to meet the varied and evolving needs of our employees. Through a variety of health, welfare and compensation programs, we offer employees choice and control, while supporting their financial, physical, and mental well-being. Tools and resources are provided to employees to help maintain and improve their health. Short- and long-term incentive plans are designed with a mix of operational and financial metrics that align employees with strategic corporate and social goals.
In addition to competitive salaries and wages, our Total Rewards programs include:
•competitive short- and long-term incentive compensation;
•a 401(k) savings plan with an employer match;
•healthcare and insurance benefits, including medical, vision, dental, life, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance;
•health savings and flexible spending accounts;
•paid time off to use for vacation, personal time, sick time, holidays, bereavement, jury duty, military leave, parental leave, maternity leave, and adoption leave;
•legal planning assistance;
•Employee Assistance program;
•Vacation Donation program; and
•Volunteer Grants & Matching Gifts program.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) - A diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace is crucial for the success and retention of our employees, to attract future talent and to execute our purpose-driven strategy to serve our customers and build strong communities. It is one of our Values – “Care for others: Together we create a workplace where people feel like they belong and can use their unique backgrounds, talents and perspectives to their fullest potential.” Alliant Energy is driven by DE&I and believes the achievement of its strategic objectives can only be achieved with a focused and engaged workforce. Alliant Energy’s corporate officers group currently has approximately 40% gender diversity and 27% ethnic diversity.
Our efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workforce include:
•learning opportunities for employees, such as inviting employees to participate in area diversity summits and supporting company-wide listening sessions, speakers and programs;
•Employee Resource Groups that foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that supports employee well-being while promoting professional development and enhancing community relationships; and
•a DE&I Leadership Team that partners with the Human Resources recruiting department and hiring managers to attract more diverse applicants that represent the diversity of the communities we serve.
Our DE&I initiatives also include a focus on building a diverse Board of Directors. We believe it is in our shareowners’ best interest to have a diverse Board representing a wide breadth of experiences and perspectives. Our Board currently has approximately 40% gender diversity and 20% ethnic diversity.
Our 2021 DE&I accomplishments include:
•received a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to benchmark LGBTQ+ rights, policies and practices;
•selected for the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and
•held a Day of Understanding where executives met with employees and held conversations around creating a culture of belonging where employees can do the best work of their lives.
Alliant Energy’s short- and long-term incentive compensation plans include diversity metrics to drive leadership accountability for efforts to advance a diverse and inclusive culture.
Talent Development and Workforce Readiness - We support employees in the growth of their careers through several training opportunities and development programs. These include tuition reimbursement, online, instructor-led and on-the-job learning formats, as well as leadership development and succession planning.
In addition, we have an apprenticeship program that combines supervised, structured on-the-job training with related instruction to produce highly skilled trade and technical workers. Our program builds lifetime skills and comprehensive knowledge in the high-demand technical trades necessary for our success. The program gives us the flexibility to tailor training to match our needs – training employees in our facilities, on our equipment, and consistent with our safety standards and employee expectations. We instill company Values, methods and procedures from day one.
2) REGULATION - Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are subject to regulation by various federal, state and local agencies. The following includes the primary regulations impacting Alliant Energy’s, IPL’s and WPL’s businesses.
Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 - Alliant Energy is registered with FERC as a public utility holding company, pursuant to the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005, and is required to maintain certain records and to report certain transactions involving its public utilities, service company and other entities regulated by FERC. Corporate Services, IPL and WPL are subject to regulation by FERC under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 for various matters including, but not limited to, affiliate transactions, public utility mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, and books, records and accounting requirements.
Energy Policy Act of 2005 - The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires creation of an Electric Reliability Organization to provide oversight by FERC. FERC designated North American Electric Reliability Corporation as the overarching Electric Reliability Organization. Midwest Reliability Organization, which is a regional member of North American Electric Reliability Corporation, has direct responsibility for mandatory electric reliability standards for IPL and WPL.
Federal Power Act of 1935 - FERC also has jurisdiction, under the Federal Power Act of 1935, over certain electric utility facilities and operations, electric wholesale sales, interstate electric transmission rates, dividend payments, issuance of IPL’s securities, and accounting practices of Corporate Services, IPL and WPL.
Electric Wholesale Rates - FERC has authority over IPL's and WPL's wholesale electric market-based rates. Market-based rate authorization allows for wholesale sales of electricity within FERC’s wholesale markets, including the MISO market, and in transactions directly with third parties, based on the market value of the transactions. IPL and WPL also have FERC-approved cost of service formula-based rates related to the provision of firm full- and partial-requirement wholesale electric sales, which allow for true-ups to actual costs, including fuel costs.
Electric Transmission Rates - FERC regulates the rates charged for electric transmission facilities used in interstate commerce. IPL and WPL do not own or operate FERC-regulated electric transmission facilities; however, both IPL and WPL pay for the use of the interstate electric transmission system based upon FERC-regulated rates. IPL and WPL rely primarily on the use of the ITC and ATC transmission systems, respectively.
Natural Gas Act - FERC regulates the transportation and sale for resale of natural gas in interstate commerce under the Natural Gas Act. Under the Natural Gas Act, FERC has authority over certain natural gas facilities and operations of IPL and WPL.
IUB - IPL is subject to regulation by the IUB for various matters including, but not limited to, retail utility rates and standards of service, accounting requirements, sales of assets with values that exceed 3% of IPL’s revenues, and approval of the location and construction of EGUs.
Retail Utility Base Rates - IPL files periodic requests with the IUB for retail rate changes and may base those requests on either historical or forward-looking test periods. The IUB must decide on requests for retail rate changes within 10 months of the date of the application for which changes are filed. The historical test periods may be adjusted for certain known and measurable changes to capital investments, cost of capital and operating and maintenance expenses consistent with IUB rules and regulations. In June 2021, the IUB adopted new rules that establish minimum filing requirements for rate reviews using a forward-looking test period, and a related subsequent proceeding review after the close of the forward-looking test period. The rules provide that in the subsequent proceeding review, a utility’s actual costs and revenues will be presumed to be reasonably consistent with the forward-looking test period if the utility’s actual return on common equity falls within a standard of reasonableness of 50 basis points above to 50 basis points below the authorized return on common equity. If the utility’s actual return on common equity is outside of this range, future rates could be adjusted.
Energy Efficiency - In accordance with Iowa law, IPL is required to file an EEP every five years with the IUB. An EEP provides a utility’s plan and related budget to achieve specified levels of electric and gas energy savings. IUB approval demonstrates that IPL’s EEP is reasonably expected to achieve cost-effective delivery of the energy efficiency programs. Refer to Note 1(g) for discussion of the recovery of these costs from IPL’s retail electric and gas customers.
Electric Generating Units - IPL must obtain a certificate of public convenience, use and necessity (GCU Certificate) from the IUB in order to construct a new, or significantly alter (including fuel switching) an existing, EGU located in Iowa with 25 MW or more of capacity. IPL’s ownership and operation of EGUs (including those located outside the state of Iowa) to serve Iowa customers is subject to retail utility rate regulation by the IUB.
Gas Pipeline Projects - IPL must obtain a pipeline permit from the IUB related to the siting of utility gas pipelines in Iowa that will be operated at a pressure over 150 pounds per square inch and will transport gas to a distribution system or single, large volume customer.
Advance Rate-making Principles - Iowa law provides Iowa utilities with rate-making principles prior to making certain generation investments in Iowa. As a result, IPL may file for, and the IUB must render a decision on, rate-making principles for certain new EGUs located in Iowa, including any alternative energy production facility (such as a wind or solar facility), combined-cycle natural gas-fired EGU, and certain base-load EGUs with a nameplate generating capacity of 300 MW or more (such as nuclear-fired generation). Advance rate-making principles are also available for the repowering of an alternative energy production facility or certain significant alterations of an existing EGU. Upon approval of rate-making principles by the IUB, IPL must either build the EGU or repower the alternative energy production facility under the approved rate-making principles, or not at all.
Electric Generating Unit Environmental Controls Projects - IPL is required to submit an updated emissions plan and budget biennially to the IUB setting out a multi-year plan and budget for managing regulated emissions from its coal-fired EGUs in a cost-effective manner. IPL must simultaneously submit this plan and budget to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a determination of whether the plan and budget meet state environmental requirements for regulated emissions. The reasonable and prudent costs associated with implementing the approved plan are expected to be included in IPL’s future retail electric rates.
PSCW - WPL is subject to regulation by the PSCW related to its operations in Wisconsin for various matters including, but not limited to, retail utility rates and standards of service, accounting requirements, issuance and use of proceeds of securities, affiliate transactions, approval of the location and construction of EGUs and certain other additions and extensions to facilities. In addition, Alliant Energy is subject to regulation by the PSCW for the type and amount of Alliant Energy’s holdings in non-utility businesses and other affiliated interest activities, among other matters.
Retail Utility Base Rates - WPL files periodic requests with the PSCW for retail rate changes. These filings are required to be based on forward-looking test periods. There is no statutory time limit for the PSCW to decide on retail base rate requests. However, the PSCW attempts to process retail base rate reviews in approximately 10 months and has the ability to approve interim retail rate relief, subject to refund, if necessary. Currently, WPL is required to defer a portion of its earnings if its annual regulatory return on common equity exceeds certain levels. Through 2023, any such deferral is required to be offset against the remaining net book value of Edgewater Unit 5, which is currently expected to be retired by early 2023.
Public Benefits - WPL contributes 1.2% of its annual retail utility revenues to help fund Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s state-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy resource program. In addition, WPL contributes to a program that provides assistance to income-eligible residents in Wisconsin. These contributions are recovered from customers through a monthly bill surcharge of the lesser of 3% of customers’ utilities bills or $750. Refer to Note 1(g) for discussion of the recovery of these costs from WPL’s retail electric and gas customers.
New Electric Generating Units - A CA application is required to be filed with the PSCW for construction approval of any new EGU with a capacity of less than 100 MW and a project cost of $11.9 million or more. WPL must obtain a CPCN from the PSCW in order to construct a new EGU in Wisconsin with a capacity of 100 MW or more. In addition, WPL’s ownership and operation of EGUs (including those located outside the state of Wisconsin) to serve Wisconsin customers are subject to retail utility rate regulation by the PSCW.
Electric Generating Unit Upgrades and Electric Distribution Projects - A CA application is required to be filed with the PSCW for construction approval of any additions to EGUs, including environmental controls projects, as well as electric distribution projects, with estimated project costs of $11.9 million or more.
Gas Distribution Projects - A CA application is required to be filed with the PSCW for construction approval of gas projects with an estimated project cost of $5 million or more and at any time that WPL requests to extend gas service to a new portion of its service territory.
Advance Rate-making Principles - Wisconsin law provides Wisconsin utilities with the opportunity to request rate-making principles prior to the purchase or construction of any EGU utilized to serve Wisconsin customers. WPL is not obligated to file for or accept authorized rate-making principles under Wisconsin law. WPL can proceed with an approved project under traditional rate-making terms or accept authorized rate-making principles under Wisconsin law.
Environmental - Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are subject to regulation of environmental matters by federal, state and local authorities as a result of their current and past operations. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL monitor these environmental matters and address them by installing controls that reduce emissions and by implementing operational modifications or other measures to address compliance obligations. There is currently significant regulatory uncertainty with respect to environmental rules and regulations discussed below. Given the evolving nature of environmental regulations and other related regulatory requirements, Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL develop and periodically update their compliance plans to address these environmental obligations. Prudent expenditures incurred by IPL and WPL to comply with environmental requirements are eligible to be recovered in rates from their customers. The following are major environmental matters that could potentially have a significant impact on financial condition and results of operations.
Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Regulations - In 2007, the Supreme Court provided direction on the EPA’s authority to regulate GHG and ruled that these emissions are covered by the CAA. In 2009, the EPA issued a ruling that found GHG emissions contribute to climate change, and therefore, threaten public health and welfare, which was the prerequisite for implementing CO2 reduction standards under the CAA. While the EPA’s rules to regulate GHG issued under the authority of the CAA remain subject to further review, growing emphasis on climate change and evolving energy technologies are driving efforts to decarbonize the environment through voluntary emissions reductions. The primary GHG directly emitted from Alliant Energy’s utility operations is CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels at their larger EGUs.
Clean Air Act Section 111(d) - In 2015, the EPA issued the Clean Power Plan under Section 111(d) of the CAA to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fueled EGUs through broad electricity system-wide measures. This was replaced by the Affordable Clean Energy rule in 2019, to reduce CO2 emissions from existing coal-fueled EGUs through heat rate improvements. In 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated and remanded the Affordable Clean Energy rule to the EPA for reconsideration. The EPA is working on a new set of Section 111(d) emission guidelines for states to implement Best System of Emission Reduction standards for GHG emissions from existing fossil-fueled EGUs, and has stated that it intends to issue a proposed rule in 2022 and a final rule in 2023, although such a timeline cannot be predicted with certainty. In addition, the Supreme Court granted review of appeals regarding the extent of the EPA’s authority under Section 111(d) to regulate GHG emissions, with a decision anticipated by June 2022. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are currently unable to predict with certainty the future outcome or impact of these matters.
Clean Air Act Section 111(b) - In 2015, the EPA published final standards under Section 111(b) of the CAA, which establish CO2 emissions limits for certain new fossil-fueled EGUs. Marshalltown and West Riverside are subject to the EPA’s Section 111(b) regulation and have been designed to achieve compliance with these standards. The EPA is reviewing the Section 111(b) standards, and has stated it intends to issue a proposed rule in 2022 and a final rule in 2023, although a timeline cannot be predicted with certainty. Litigation related to Section 111(b) is suspended while the EPA revises its Section 111(b) regulations, and Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are currently unable to predict with certainty the impact of these standards.
Water Quality -
Effluent Limitation Guidelines - In 2015, the EPA published final effluent limitation guidelines, which required changes to discharge limits for wastewater from certain IPL and WPL steam EGUs. In 2020, revised effluent limitation guidelines (2020 Reconsideration Rule) became effective, which incorporated flexibility to the 2015 rule, including a new subcategory for coal-fired EGUs that will be retired or converted to no longer burn coal before 2028. Compliance for existing steam-electric generating facilities is determined by each facility’s wastewater discharge permit and will generally be required by December 31, 2025. Projects required for compliance are facility-specific. Estimated capital expenditures to comply with the 2020 Reconsideration Rule for 2022 through 2025 are included in the “Other Generation” line in the construction and acquisition expenditures table in “Liquidity and Capital Resources” in MDA. In January 2021, the current Presidential Administration issued an Executive Order requiring the review and possible revision of environmental regulations issued during the prior Administration. As a result, the EPA will undertake a supplemental rule-making to revise the 2020 Reconsideration Rule, and has stated that it intends to issue a proposed rule in 2022. As part of the rule-making process, the EPA is expected to determine whether more stringent limitations and standards are appropriate. The 2020 Reconsideration Rule will remain in effect while the EPA undertakes this new rule-making. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are currently unable to predict with certainty the future outcome or impact of the anticipated supplemental rule-making.
Land and Solid Waste -
Coal Combustion Residuals Rule - The CCR Rule, which became effective in 2015, regulates CCR as a non-hazardous waste. IPL and WPL have coal-fired EGUs with coal ash ponds and active CCR landfills that are impacted by this rule. Compliance obligations associated with the CCR Rule may be subject to change due to future EPA CCR Rule updates, on-going litigation related to the CCR Rule, and any actions taken to-date that may be challenged. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are currently unable to predict with certainty the impact of these updates.
MGP Sites - Refer to Note 17(e) for discussion of IPL’s and WPL’s MGP sites.
Renewable Energy Standards - Iowa and Wisconsin have renewable energy standards, which establish the minimum amount of energy IPL and WPL must supply from renewable resources. IPL primarily relies upon renewable energy generated from the wind resources it owns and renewable energy acquired under PPAs to meet these requirements. WPL utilizes its current renewable portfolio, which primarily consists of wind and hydro energy, both owned and acquired under PPAs, to meet these requirements. IPL and WPL currently exceed their respective renewable energy standards requirements.
3) STRATEGY - Refer to “Overview” in MDA for discussion of Alliant Energy’s strategy, which supports its mission to deliver energy solutions and exceptional service that its customers and communities count on - safely, efficiently, reliably and responsibly.
C. INFORMATION RELATING TO UTILITY OPERATIONS
Alliant Energy’s utility business (IPL and WPL) has three segments: a) electric operations; b) gas operations; and c) other, which includes IPL’s steam operations and the unallocated portions of the utility business. IPL’s and WPL’s electric, gas and other revenues as a percentage of total revenues were as follows:
1) ELECTRIC UTILITY OPERATIONS
General - Electric utility operations represent the largest operating segment for Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL. Alliant Energy’s electric utility operations are located in the Midwest with IPL providing retail electric service in Iowa and WPL providing retail and wholesale electric service in Wisconsin. IPL also sells electricity to wholesale customers in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Refer to the “Electric Operating Information” tables for additional details regarding electric utility operations.
Customers - IPL and WPL provide electric utility service to a diversified base of retail customers in several industries, with the largest concentrations in the farming, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, chemical (including ethanol), packaging and food industries. IPL and WPL also sell electricity to wholesale customers, which primarily consist of municipalities and rural electric cooperatives.
Seasonality - Electric sales are seasonal to some extent with the annual peak normally occurring in the summer months due to air conditioning requirements. Electric sales are also impacted to a certain extent in the winter months due to heating requirements.
Competition - Retail electric customers in Iowa and Wisconsin currently do not have the ability to choose their electric supplier, and IPL and WPL have obligations to serve all their retail electric customers. Although electric service in Iowa and Wisconsin is regulated, IPL and WPL still face competition from self-generation by large industrial customers, customer- and third party-owned generation (e.g. solar panels), alternative energy sources, and petitions to municipalize (Iowa) as well as service territory expansions by municipal utilities through annexations (Wisconsin). In addition, the wholesale power market is competitive and IPL and WPL compete against independent power producers, other utilities and MISO market purchases to serve wholesale customers for their electric energy and capacity needs. Alliant Energy’s strategy includes actions to retain current customers and attract new customers into IPL’s and WPL’s service territories in an effort to keep energy rates low for all of their customers. Refer to “Overview” in MDA for discussion of the strategy element focusing on growing customer demand.
Electric Supply - Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL have met, and expect to continue meeting, customer demand of electricity through a mix of electric supply, including owned EGUs, PPAs and additional purchases from wholesale energy markets. Alliant Energy expects its mix of electric supply to change in the next several years with its planned transition away from coal-fired EGUs by incorporating renewable energy such as solar generation, distributed energy resources including community solar and energy storage systems, as well as the actual and potential sale of partial interests in West Riverside to neighboring utilities. Long-term generation plans are intended to meet customer demand, reduce air emissions and water impacts, reduce reliance on wholesale market purchases and mitigate the impacts of future EGU retirements while maintaining compliance with long-term electric demand planning reserve margins, renewable energy standards established by regulators and other various requirements.
Electric Demand Planning Reserve Margin - IPL and WPL are required to maintain a planning reserve margin above their load at the time of the MISO-wide peak to ensure reliability of electric service to their customers. The required installed capacity reserve margin is 17.9% and the required unforced capacity reserve margin is 8.7% for the June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023 MISO planning year. IPL and WPL utilize accredited capacity from EGUs they own, and have rights to through PPAs, to meet a substantial portion of their current MISO planning reserve margin requirements and periodically rely on short-term market capacity purchases to supplement the accredited capacity from such EGUs.
Generation Fuel Supply - IPL and WPL own a portfolio of EGUs located in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with a diversified fuel mix that includes natural gas, renewable resources and coal. Refer to “Properties” in Item 2 for details of IPL’s and WPL’s EGUs. The average cost of delivered fuel per million British Thermal Units used for electric generation was as follows:
|All fuels||$2.10 ||$2.22 ||$2.17 ||$2.62 ||$2.36 ||$2.55 |
|Natural gas (a)||2.54 ||2.54 ||2.52 ||3.31 ||2.51 ||2.76 |
|Coal||1.81 ||1.84 ||1.81 ||2.07 ||2.19 ||2.35 |
(a)The average cost of natural gas includes commodity and transportation costs, as well as realized gains and losses from swap and option contracts used to hedge the price of natural gas volumes expected to be used by IPL’s and WPL’s natural gas-fired EGUs.
Natural Gas - Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL own several natural gas-fired EGUs, and WPL also has exclusive rights to the output of AEF’s Sheboygan Falls Energy Facility under an affiliated lease agreement. These facilities help meet customer demand for electricity when natural gas prices are low enough to make natural gas-fired generation economical compared to other fuel sources. Alliant Energy manages the gas supply to these gas-fired EGUs and helps ensure an adequate supply is available at known prices through a combination of gas commodity, pipeline transportation and storage agreements held by IPL and WPL for numerous years. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL believe they are reasonably insulated against gas price volatility for these EGUs given their use of forward contracts and hedging practices, as well as their regulatory cost-recovery mechanisms.
Coal - Coal is one of the fuel sources for owned EGUs. Coal contracts entered into with different entities help ensure that a specified supply of coal is available, and delivered, at known prices for IPL’s and WPL’s coal-fired EGUs. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL believe their coal supply portfolio represents a reasonable balance between the risks of insufficient supplies and those associated with being unable to respond to future coal market changes. Remaining coal requirements are expected to be met from either future term contracts or purchases in the spot market. Currently, all of the coal utilized by IPL and WPL is from the Wyoming Powder River Basin.
Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL believe they are reasonably insulated against coal price volatility given their current coal procurement process, the specific coal market in their primary purchase region and regulatory cost-recovery mechanisms. The coal procurement process supports periodic purchases, staggering of contract terms, stair-stepped levels of supply going forward and supplier diversity. Similarly, given the term lengths of their transportation agreements and strategic alignment of agreement expirations for negotiation purposes, Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL believe they are reasonably insulated against future higher coal transportation rates from the major railroads.
Purchased Power - IPL and WPL periodically enter into PPAs and purchase electricity from wholesale energy markets to meet a portion of their customer demand for electricity.
Electric Transmission - IPL and WPL do not own electric transmission service assets and currently receive transmission services from ITC and ATC, respectively. ITC and ATC are independent, for-profit, transmission-only companies and are transmission-owning members of the MISO Regional Transmission Organization, Midwest Reliability Organization and Reliability First Corporation Regional Entities. The annual transmission service rates that ITC or ATC charges their customers are calculated each calendar year using a FERC-approved cost of service formula rate. As a result, ITC and ATC can implement new rates each calendar year without filing a request with FERC. However, new rates are subject to challenge by either FERC or customers. If the rates proposed by ITC or ATC are determined by FERC to be unjust or unreasonable, or another mechanism is determined by FERC to be just and reasonable, ITC’s or ATC’s rates would change accordingly. Refer to Note 1(g) for discussion of a transmission cost rider utilized by IPL for recovery of its electric transmission service expense, and discussion of WPL’s electric transmission service expense, which is recovered from its retail electric customers through changes in base rates determined during periodic rate proceedings.
MISO Markets - IPL and WPL are members of MISO, a FERC-approved Regional Transmission Organization, which is responsible for monitoring and ensuring equal access to the transmission system in their footprint. IPL and WPL participate in the wholesale energy and ancillary services markets operated by MISO, which are discussed in more detail below. As agent for IPL and WPL, Corporate Services enters into energy, capacity, ancillary services, and transmission sale and purchase transactions within MISO. Corporate Services assigns such sales and purchases between IPL and WPL based on statements received from MISO.
Wholesale Energy Market - IPL and WPL sell and purchase power in the day-ahead and real-time wholesale energy markets operated by MISO. MISO’s bid/offer-based markets compare the cost of IPL and WPL generation against other generators, which affects IPL and WPL generation operations, energy purchases and energy sales. MISO generally dispatches the lowest cost generators, while recognizing current system constraints, to reduce costs for purchasers in the wholesale energy market. In addition, MISO may dispatch generators that support reliability needs, but that would not have operated based on economic needs. In these cases, MISO’s settlement assures that these generators are made whole financially for their variable costs.
Ancillary Services Market - IPL and WPL also participate in MISO’s ancillary services market, which integrates the procurement and use of regulation and contingency reserves with the existing wholesale energy market to ensure reliability of electricity supply. MISO’s ancillary services market has had the overall impact of lowering ancillary services costs in the MISO footprint.
Financial Transmission Rights and Auction Revenue Rights - In areas of constrained transmission capacity, energy costs could be higher due to congestion and its impact on locational marginal prices. FTRs provide a hedge for certain congestion costs that occur in the MISO energy market. MISO allocates auction revenue rights to IPL and WPL annually based on a fiscal year from June 1 through May 31 and historical use of the transmission system. The allocated auction revenue rights are used by IPL and WPL to acquire FTRs through the FTR auctions operated by MISO.
Resource Adequacy - MISO has resource adequacy requirements to help ensure adequate resources to meet forecasted peak load obligations plus a reserve margin. Only accredited capacity assigned to EGUs is available to meet these requirements. In order for an EGU to receive accredited capacity, it must meet MISO capacity accreditation requirements, which can include satisfying transmission requirements identified in its interconnection agreement prior to the MISO planning year.
In November 2021, MISO issued proposals to change its methodology for procuring capacity in the energy market effective with the 2023/2024 MISO Planning Year, as a result of changes in the overall generation resource mix due to the shift to renewable generation and the retirement of certain fossil-fueled generation. MISO proposes to change the capacity construct from the current Summer-based annual construct to four distinct seasons to help ensure the continued reliability of the electric transmission grid. MISO’s proposal includes establishing planning reserve margin requirements for all market participants on a seasonal basis and determining a seasonal accredited capacity value for certain classes of generating resources. These changes, if implemented, may require IPL and WPL to adjust their current resource plans, and may result in limited accredited capacity for solar generation during the Winter season and higher accredited capacity for wind generation during the non-Summer seasons. IPL and WPL may need to develop and/or acquire additional resources in order to comply with the new methodology, as well as procure capacity in the market until the new resources are placed in service and accredited by MISO. Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL are currently unable to predict with certainty the future outcome or impact of these matters.
|Electric Operating Information - Alliant Energy||2021||2020||2019|
|Revenues (in millions):|
|Residential||$1,115 ||$1,093 ||$1,092 |
|Commercial||763 ||718 ||770 |
|Industrial||893 ||841 ||889 |
|Retail subtotal||2,771 ||2,652 ||2,751 |
|Sales for resale||243 ||204 ||250 |
|Other||67 ||64 ||63 |
|Total||$3,081 ||$2,920 ||$3,064 |
|Sales (000s MWh):|
|Residential||7,353 ||7,294 ||7,207 |
|Commercial||6,383 ||6,107 ||6,466 |
|Industrial||11,696 ||11,134 ||11,448 |
|Retail subtotal||25,432 ||24,535 ||25,121 |
|Sales for resale||5,805 ||6,046 ||6,594 |
|Other||71 ||71 ||79 |
|Total||31,308 ||30,652 ||31,794 |
|Customers (End of Period):|
|Retail||981,570 ||974,144 ||968,485 |
|Other||2,878 ||2,841 ||2,816 |
|Total||984,448 ||976,985 ||971,301 |
|Other Selected Electric Data:|
|Maximum summer peak hour demand (MW)||5,486 ||5,496 ||5,626 |
|Maximum winter peak hour demand (MW)||4,413 ||4,158 ||4,395 |
|Cooling degree days (a):|
|Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IPL) (normal - 802)||974 ||800 ||805 |
|Madison, Wisconsin (WPL) (normal - 687)||845 ||736 ||657 |
|Sources of electric energy (000s MWh):|
|Gas||10,055 ||10,440 ||11,060 |
|Wind (b)||3,529 ||3,683 ||2,383 |
|Nuclear||— ||2,347 ||3,748 |
|Other (b)||2,642 ||2,521 ||3,264 |
|Wind (b)||5,231 ||4,872 ||2,896 |
|Coal||10,218 ||7,021 ||8,643 |
|Other (b)||226 ||254 ||239 |
|Total||31,901 ||31,138 ||32,233 |
|Revenue per KWh sold to retail customers (cents)||10.90 ||10.81 ||10.95 |(a)Cooling degree days are calculated using a simple average of the high and low temperatures each day compared to a 65 degree base. Normal degree days are calculated using a rolling 20-year average of historical cooling degree days. Refer to “Gas Operating Information” below for details of heating degree days.
(b)All or some of the renewable energy attributes associated with generation from these sources may be used in future years to comply with renewable energy standards or other regulatory requirements.
|Electric Operating Information||IPL||WPL|
|Revenues (in millions):|
|Residential||$620 ||$602 ||$601 ||$495 ||$491 ||$491 |
|Commercial||508 ||474 ||510 ||255 ||244 ||260 |
|Industrial||505 ||488 ||504 ||388 ||353 ||385 |
|Retail subtotal||1,633 ||1,564 ||1,615 ||1,138 ||1,088 ||1,136 |
|Sales for resale||74 ||88 ||128 ||169 ||116 ||122 |
|Other||45 ||43 ||38 ||22 ||21 ||25 |
|Total||$1,752 ||$1,695 ||$1,781 ||$1,329 ||$1,225 ||$1,283 |
|Sales (000s MWh):|
|Residential||3,680 ||3,623 ||3,613 ||3,673 ||3,671 ||3,594 |
|Commercial||4,022 ||3,835 ||4,109 ||2,361 ||2,272 ||2,357 |
|Industrial||6,581 ||6,372 ||6,420 ||5,115 ||4,762 ||5,028 |
|Retail subtotal||14,283 ||13,830 ||14,142 ||11,149 ||10,705 ||10,979 |
|Sales for resale||1,807 ||3,485 ||4,479 ||3,998 ||2,561 ||2,115 |
|Other||35 ||34 ||36 ||36 ||37 ||43 |
|Total||16,125 ||17,349 ||18,657 ||15,183 ||13,303 ||13,137 |
|Customers (End of Period):|
|Retail||496,435 ||494,258 ||492,830 ||485,135 ||479,886 ||475,655 |
|Other||858 ||856 ||855 ||2,020 ||1,985 ||1,961 |
|Total||497,293 ||495,114 ||493,685 ||487,155 ||481,871 ||477,616 |
|Other Selected Electric Data:|
|Maximum summer peak hour demand (MW)||2,892 ||2,951 ||2,944 ||2,680 ||2,609 ||2,682 |
|Maximum winter peak hour demand (MW)||2,433 ||2,311 ||2,377 ||2,028 ||1,873 ||2,031 |
|Cooling degree days (a):|
|Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IPL) (normal - 802)||974 ||800 ||805 ||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Madison, Wisconsin (WPL) (normal - 687)||N/A||N/A||N/A||845 ||736 ||657 |
|Sources of electric energy (000s MWh):|
|Gas||4,011 ||5,296 ||6,362 ||6,044 ||5,144 ||4,698 |
|Wind (b)||2,285 ||2,359 ||1,788 ||1,244 ||1,324 ||595 |
|Nuclear||— ||2,347 ||3,748 ||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Other (b)||1,166 ||391 ||326 ||1,476 ||2,130 ||2,938 |
|Wind (b)||4,088 ||3,843 ||2,067 ||1,143 ||1,029 ||829 |
|Coal||4,756 ||3,185 ||4,470 ||5,462 ||3,836 ||4,173 |
|Other (b)||12 ||12 ||11 ||214 ||242 ||228 |
|Total||16,318 ||17,433 ||18,772 ||15,583 ||13,705 ||13,461 |
|Revenue per KWh sold to retail customers (cents)||11.43 ||11.31 ||11.42 ||10.21 ||10.16 ||10.35 |(a)Cooling degree days are calculated using a simple average of the high and low temperatures each day compared to a 65 degree base. Normal degree days are calculated using a rolling 20-year average of historical cooling degree days. Refer to “Gas Operating Information” below for details of heating degree days.
(b)All or some of the renewable energy attributes associated with generation from these sources may be used in future years to comply with renewable energy standards or other regulatory requirements.
2) GAS UTILITY OPERATIONS
General - Gas utility operations represent the second largest operating segment for Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL. Alliant Energy’s gas utility operations are located in the Midwest with IPL providing gas service in Iowa and WPL providing gas service in Wisconsin. Refer to the “Gas Operating Information” tables for additional details regarding gas utility operations. Refer to Note 1(g) for information relating to utility natural gas cost recovery mechanisms and Note 17(b) for discussion of natural gas commitments.
Customers - IPL and WPL provide gas utility service to a diversified base of retail customers and industries, including research, education, hospitality, manufacturing and chemicals (including ethanol). In addition, IPL and WPL provide transportation service to commercial and industrial customers by moving customer-owned gas through Alliant Energy’s distribution systems to the customers’ meters.
Seasonality - Gas sales follow a seasonal pattern with an annual base-load of gas and a large heating peak occurring during the winter season. Natural gas obtained from producers, marketers and brokers, as well as gas in storage, is utilized to meet the peak heating season requirements. Storage contracts generally allow IPL and WPL to purchase gas in the summer and inject it into underground storage fields, and remove it from storage fields in the winter to deliver to customers.
Competition - Gas customers in Iowa and Wisconsin currently do not have the ability to choose their gas distributor, and IPL and WPL have obligations to serve all their gas customers. While the gas utility distribution function is expected to remain a regulated function, sales of the natural gas commodity and related services are subject to competition from third-parties who provide alternative fuel sources (e.g. propane). However, when natural gas service is available for a given area, customers in such area have generally selected natural gas over propane as a more cost competitive solution for their fuel needs. Refer to “Customer Investments” in MDA for discussion of plans to expand gas distribution systems.
Gas Supply - IPL and WPL maintain purchase agreements with numerous suppliers of natural gas from various gas producing regions of the U.S. and Canada. In providing gas commodity service to retail customers, Corporate Services administers a diversified portfolio of transportation and storage contracts on behalf of IPL and WPL. The tariffs for IPL’s and WPL’s retail gas customers provide for subsequent adjustments to their rates for the cost of gas sold to these customers. As a result, natural gas prices do not have a material impact on IPL’s or WPL’s gas margins.
Gas Demand Planning Reserve Margin - IPL and WPL are required to maintain adequate pipeline capacity to ensure they meet their customers’ maximum daily system demand requirements. IPL and WPL currently have planning reserve margins of 1% and 7%, respectively, above their forecasted maximum daily system demand requirements from November 2021 through March 2022.
|Gas Operating Information - Alliant Energy||2021||2020||2019|
|Revenues (in millions):|
|Residential||$257 ||$214 ||$259 |
|Commercial||139 ||107 ||133 |
|Industrial||17 ||12 ||16 |
|Retail subtotal||413 ||333 ||408 |
|Transportation/other||43 ||40 ||47 |
|Total||$456 ||$373 ||$455 |
|Sales (000s Dths):|
|Residential||26,795 ||27,809 ||30,791 |
|Commercial||18,516 ||17,996 ||21,611 |
|Industrial||2,868 ||3,003 ||3,448 |
|Retail subtotal||48,179 ||48,808 ||55,850 |
|Transportation/other||99,179 ||102,790 ||97,135 |
|Total||147,358 ||151,598 ||152,985 |
|Retail Customers (End of Period)||422,864 ||419,994 ||417,322 |
|Other Selected Gas Data:|
|Heating degree days (a):|
|Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IPL) (normal - 6,705)||6,539 ||6,625 ||7,262 |
|Madison, Wisconsin (WPL) (normal - 6,992)||6,620 ||6,789 ||7,397 |
|Revenue per Dth sold to retail customers||$8.57 ||$6.82 ||$7.31 |
|Purchased gas costs per Dth sold to retail customers||$5.29 ||$3.67 ||$3.89 |
|Gas Operating Information||IPL||WPL|
|Revenues (in millions):|
|Residential||$146 ||$116 ||$149 ||$111 ||$98 ||$110 |
|Commercial||79 ||59 ||75 ||60 ||48 ||58 |
|Industrial||12 ||8 ||12 ||5 ||4 ||4 |
|Retail subtotal||237 ||183 ||236 ||176 ||150 ||172 |
|Transportation/other||28 ||25 ||28 ||15 ||15 ||19 |
|Total||$265 ||$208 ||$264 ||$191 ||$165 ||$191 |
|Sales (000s Dths):|
|Residential||13,873 ||14,521 ||16,078 ||12,922 ||13,288 ||14,713 |
|Commercial||9,065 ||8,925 ||10,906 ||9,451 ||9,071 ||10,705 |
|Industrial||1,943 ||2,062 ||2,514 ||925 ||941 ||934 |
|Retail subtotal||24,881 ||25,508 ||29,498 ||23,298 ||23,300 ||26,352 |
|Transportation/other||40,738 ||39,543 ||38,323 ||58,441 ||63,247 ||58,812 |
|Total||65,619 ||65,051 ||67,821 ||81,739 ||86,547 ||85,164 |
|Retail Customers (End of Period)||225,517 ||224,927 ||224,613 ||197,347 ||195,067 ||192,709 |
|Other Selected Gas Data:|
|Maximum daily winter peak demand (Dth)||269,335 ||253,439 ||303,508 ||221,256 ||189,439 ||229,022 |
|Heating degree days (a):|
|Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IPL) (normal - 6,705)||6,539||6,625||7,262||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Madison, Wisconsin (WPL) (normal - 6,992)||N/A||N/A||N/A||6,620||6,789||7,397|
|Revenue per Dth sold to retail customers||$9.53||$7.17||$8.00||$7.55||$6.44||$6.53|
|Purchased gas cost per Dth sold to retail customers||$5.96||$3.87||$4.06||$4.58||$3.45||$3.70|
(a)Heating degree days are calculated using a simple average of the high and low temperatures each day compared to a 65 degree base. Normal degree days are calculated using a rolling 20-year average of historical heating degree days.
3) OTHER UTILITY OPERATIONS - STEAM - IPL’s Prairie Creek facility is the primary source of steam for IPL’s two high-pressure steam customers in Iowa. These customers are each under contract through 2025 for taking minimum quantities of annual steam usage, with certain conditions.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
You should carefully consider each of the risks described below relating to Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL, together with all of the other information contained in this combined report, before making an investment decision with respect to our securities. If any of the following risks develop into actual events, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected, and you may lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Related to Business Operations
A cyber attack may disrupt our operations or lead to a loss or misuse of confidential and proprietary information or potential liability - We operate in an industry that requires the continuous use and operation of sophisticated information technology systems and network infrastructure. We face threats from use of malicious code (such as malware, viruses and ransomware), employee theft or misuse, advanced persistent threats, vulnerabilities such as the log4j vulnerability, fraud attempts, and phishing attacks. More of our workforce is working remotely due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has increased the number of devices connected to the internet that impact our operations and therefore increase our cyber security risk. Incidents of ransomware attacks have been increasing in frequency and magnitude, including the ransomware attack that resulted in the operator of the Colonial Pipeline paying millions of dollars in ransom to hackers as a result of a cyber attack disabling the pipeline for several days in May 2021. Cyber attacks targeting electronic control systems used at our generating facilities and for electric and gas distribution systems could result in a full or partial disruption of our electric and/or gas operations. We have relied on a global supply chain for certain components of our operating and technology systems, which may increase our exposure to cyber attacks. Any disruption of these operations could result in a loss of service to customers and a significant decrease in revenues, as well as significant expense to repair system damage and remedy security breaches. Due to the evolving nature of cyber attacks and cyber security, our current safeguards to protect our operating systems and information technology assets may not always be effective. We rely on third parties for software to protect against cyber attacks and we are at risk if such third parties are targets of cyber attacks. If the technology systems were to fail or be breached by a cyber attack or a computer virus, and not be recovered in a timely fashion, we may be unable to fulfill critical business functions and confidential data could be compromised, adversely impacting our financial condition and results of operation.
In addition, we may collect and retain sensitive information, including personal information about our customers, shareowners and employees. In some cases, we outsource administration of certain functions to vendors that could be targets of cyber attacks. For example, we outsource administration of our employee health insurance to Anthem, which was the target of a
cyber attack in 2014. Any theft, loss and/or fraudulent use of customer, shareowner, employee or proprietary data as a result of a cyber attack could subject us to significant litigation, liability and costs, as well as adversely impact our reputation with customers and regulators, among others.
Demand for energy may decrease - Our results of operations are affected by the demand for energy in our service territories. Energy demand may decrease due to many things, including proliferation of customer and third party-owned generation, technological advances that reduce the costs of renewable energy and storage solutions for our customers, loss of service territory or franchises, energy efficiency measures, technological advances that improve energy efficiency, third-party disrupters, loss of wholesale customers, the adverse impact of tariffs on our customers, and economic conditions. The loss of sales due to lower demand for energy may increase our rates for remaining customers, as our rates must cover our fixed costs. Increased customer rates may cause decreased demand for energy as customers move to customer and third party-owned generation and implement energy efficiency measures to reduce costs. The loss of customers, the inability to replace those customers with new customers, and the decrease in demand for energy could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Our strategy includes large construction projects, which are subject to risks - Our strategy includes constructing renewable generating facilities and large-scale additions and upgrades to our electric and gas distribution systems. These construction projects are subject to various risks. These risks include: the inability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals and permits in a timely manner; adverse interpretation or enforcement of permit conditions; changes in applicable laws or regulations; changes in costs of materials, equipment, commodities, fuel or labor including due to tariffs, labor issues, or supply shortages; delays caused by construction accidents or injuries; shortages in materials, equipment, inflation and qualified labor; changes to the scope or timing of the projects; general contractors, subcontractors, or equipment not performing as required under their contracts; the inability to agree to contract terms or disputes in contract terms; the inability to successfully resolve warranty claims; poor initial cost estimates; work stoppages; adverse weather conditions; government actions; legal action; unforeseen engineering or technology issues; limited access to capital or other proposed financing arrangements such as tax equity financing; and other adverse economic conditions. We may not be able to recover all costs for the projects in rates and face increased risk of potential impairment of our project investment if a construction project is not completed or is delayed, or final costs exceed expectations or the costs approved by our regulators. Inability to recover costs, or inability to complete projects in a timely manner, could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Our utility business is seasonal and may be adversely affected by the impacts of weather - Electric and gas utility businesses are seasonal businesses. Demand for electricity is greater in the summer months associated with higher air conditioning needs and winter months associated with higher heating needs. Demand for natural gas depends significantly upon temperature patterns in winter months due to heavy use in residential and commercial heating. As a result, our overall operating results in the future may fluctuate substantially on a seasonal basis. In addition, we have historically generated less revenues and income when temperatures are warmer in the winter and/or cooler in the summer. Thus, mild winters and/or summers could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
We face risks associated with operating electric and natural gas infrastructure - The operation of electric generation and distribution infrastructure involves many risks, including start-up risks, breakdown or failure of equipment, fires developing from our power lines, transformers or substations, dam failure at one of our hydroelectric facilities, the dependence on a specific fuel source, including the supply and transportation of fuel, the risk of performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency, public and employee safety, operator error and ruptured oil and chemical tanks. The operation of our natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure also involves many risks, such as leaks, explosions, mechanical problems, members of the public and contractors coming into contact with our infrastructure, and employee and public safety. In addition, the North American electric transmission grid is highly interconnected and, in extraordinary circumstances, disruptions at particular points within the grid could cause an extensive power outage in our service territories. Increased utilization of customer- and third party-owned generation technologies could also disrupt the reliability and balance of the electricity grid. Further, the electric transmission system in our utilities’ service territories can experience constraints, limiting the ability to transmit electricity within our service territories. The transmission constraints could result in an inability to deliver electricity from generating facilities, particularly wind generating facilities, to the national grid, or to access lower cost sources of electricity.
These risks could cause significant harm to employees, customers and the public including loss of human life, significant damage to property, adverse impacts on the environment and impairment of our operations, all of which could result in substantial financial losses to us. We are also responsible for compliance with new and changing regulatory standards involving safety, reliability and environmental compliance, including regulations under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Transportation Security Authority. Failure to meet these regulatory standards could result in substantial fines. Lastly, we have obligations to provide electric and natural gas service to customers under regulatory requirements and contractual commitments. Failure to meet our service obligations could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Storms or other natural disasters may impact our operations in unpredictable ways - Storms and other natural disasters, including events such as floods, tornadoes, windstorms like the 2020 derecho in Iowa, blizzards, ice storms, extreme hot temperatures, extreme cold temperatures, fires, solar flares or pandemics may adversely impact our ability to generate,
purchase or distribute electric energy and gas or obtain fuel or other critical supplies. In addition, we could incur large costs to repair damage to our generating facilities and electric and gas infrastructure, or costs related to environmental remediation, due to storms or other natural disasters. The restoration costs may not be fully covered by insurance policies and may not be fully recovered in rates, or recovery in rates may be delayed. Storms and natural disasters may impact our customers and the resulting reduced demand for energy could cause lower sales and revenues, which may not be replaced or recovered in rates, or rate recovery may be delayed. Any of these items could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of variant strains could adversely affect our business functions, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows - The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of variant strains has resulted in widespread impacts on the economy, including disruptions to supply chains, and reduced labor availability and productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted, and may continue to impact, the economic conditions in our service territories, which may adversely impact our sales and our customers’ abilities to pay their bills. Travel and transportation restrictions and closures of commercial spaces and industrial facilities have been imposed in and across the U.S., including in the service territories in which we operate. Governmental and regulatory responses to COVID-19 have included suspending service disconnects, which may increase customer account arrears, possibly increasing our allowance for expected credit losses and decreasing our cash flows.
Closures of commercial spaces and industrial facilities, stay-at-home trends, work-from-home trends, and business disruptions have impacted sales volumes. These trends may result in a reduction in demand for electricity and natural gas from retail customers. Negative impacts on the economy resulting from the continued pandemic could adversely impact the market value of the assets that fund our pension plans, which could necessitate accelerated funding of the plans to meet minimum federal government requirements. The negative impacts on the economy, labor markets, and supply chains could also adversely impact the ability of counterparties to meet contractual payment obligations, including guarantees, or deliver contracted commodities and other goods or services at the contracted price, which could increase company expenses. Our access to the capital markets could be adversely affected by COVID-19, which could cause us to need alternative sources of funding for our operations and for working capital, any of which could increase our cost of capital.
Travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, and vaccine mandates have caused, and may continue to cause, disruptions in supply chains or access to labor that may adversely impact our planned construction projects, our ability to satisfy compliance requirements, or our operations, including our ability to maintain reliable electric and gas service. This may cause us to miss milestones on construction projects and experience operational delays, which, in the case of renewable energy projects, could delay our completion of such projects past the in-service dates required to qualify for the maximum general renewable tax credits for investments in such renewable energy projects. We have modified certain business practices to be consistent with government restrictions and best practices encouraged by government and regulatory authorities and developed risk mitigation plans for critical items and services required to continue our operations. The effects of these government restrictions could adversely impact implementation of our regulatory plans and our operations. If our workforce contracts COVID-19, it could negatively impact our operations, including our ability to maintain reliable electric and gas service.
The degree to which COVID-19 and the spread of the variant strains may impact our business operations, financial condition and results of operations is unknown at this time and will depend on future developments, including the continued spread of COVID-19 and its variants, the severity of the disease, the duration of the pandemic, possible resurgence of the disease at a later date, emergence of variants, speed, efficacy and adoption rates of vaccines, and further actions that may be taken by governmental and regulatory authorities.
Threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism may impact our operations in unpredictable ways - We are subject to direct and indirect effects of terrorist threats and activities. Generation, transmission and distribution facilities, in general, have been identified as potential targets of physical or cyber attacks. Physical attacks on transmission and distribution facilities that appeared to be terrorist-style attacks have occurred. Our gas distribution system could also be the target of terrorist threats and activities. The risks posed by such attacks could include, among other things, the inability to generate, purchase or distribute electric energy or obtain fuel sources, the increased cost of security and insurance, the disruption of, volatility in, or other effects on capital markets, and a decline in the economy and/or energy usage within our service territories, all of which could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the cost of repairing damage to our facilities and infrastructure caused by acts of terrorism, and the loss of revenue if such events prevent us from providing utility service to our customers, could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to fully recover costs related to commodity prices - We have natural gas and coal supply and transportation contracts in place for some of the natural gas and coal we require to generate electricity. We also have transportation and supply agreements in place to facilitate delivery of natural gas to our customers. Our counterparties to these contracts may not fulfill their obligations to provide natural gas or coal to us due to financial or operational problems caused by natural disasters, severe weather, economic conditions, pandemics, physical attacks or cyber attacks. If we were unable to obtain enough natural gas or coal for our electric generating facilities under our existing contracts, or to obtain electricity under existing or future purchased power agreements, we could be required to purchase natural gas or coal at higher prices or forced to purchase electricity from higher-cost generating resources in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) energy market. We may be obligated to pay for coal deliveries under our contracts even if our coal-fired
generating facilities do not operate enough to fully utilize the amounts of coal covered by the contracts. If, for natural gas delivery to our customers, we were unable to obtain our natural gas supply requirements under existing or future natural gas supply and transportation contracts, we could be required to purchase natural gas at higher prices from other sources. Natural gas market prices have been volatile in the past and could be volatile in the future due to additional future regulations, increased demand including due to increased liquified natural gas demand from foreign countries, periods of extremely cold temperatures or disruption in supply caused by major storms or pipeline explosions. We may not be able to pass on all of the changes in costs to our customers, especially at WPL where we do not have an automatic retail electric fuel cost adjustment clause to timely recover such costs and where electric fuel cost recovery may be limited if WPL earns in excess of its authorized return on common equity. Increases in prices and costs due to disruptions that are not recovered in rates fully, in a timely manner, may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Energy industry changes could have a negative effect on our businesses - We operate in a highly regulated business environment. The advent of new and unregulated markets has the potential to significantly impact our financial condition and results of operations. Further, competitors may not be subject to the same operating, regulatory and financial requirements that we are, potentially causing a substantial competitive disadvantage for us. Changes in public policy that could be the result of a new Presidential Administration, such as new tax incentives that we cannot take advantage of or efforts to deregulate the utility industry, could provide an advantage to competitors. Changes in technology could also alter the channels through which electric customers buy or utilize power, which could reduce the revenues or increase the expenses of our utility companies. Increased competition in our primary retail electric service territories may have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
We face risks related to non-utility operations - We rely on our non-utility operations for a portion of our earnings. If our non-utility holdings do not perform at expected levels, we could experience an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Laws and Regulations
Our utility business is significantly impacted by government legislation, regulation and oversight - Our utility financial condition is influenced by how regulatory authorities, including the IUB, the PSCW and FERC, establish the rates we can charge our customers, our authorized rates of return and common equity levels, and the costs that may be recovered from customers. Our ability to timely obtain rate adjustments to earn authorized rates of return depends upon timely regulatory action under applicable statutes and regulations, and cannot be guaranteed. In future rate reviews, IPL and WPL may not receive an adequate amount of rate relief to recover all costs and earn their authorized rates of return, rates may be reduced, rate refunds may be required, rate adjustments may not be approved on a timely basis, costs may not be otherwise recovered through rates, future rates may be temporarily frozen, certain rate base items may not receive a full weighted average cost of capital, and authorized rates of return on capital may be reduced. As a result, we may experience adverse impacts on our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, our operations are subject to extensive regulation primarily by the IUB, the PSCW and FERC. We are also subject to oversight and monitoring by organizations such as the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the Midwest Reliability Organization, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, MISO and the Transportation Security Administration. The impacts on our operations include: our ability to site and construct new generating facilities, such as renewable energy projects, and recover associated costs, including our ability to continue to use a renewable energy rider in Iowa; our ability to decommission generating facilities and recover related costs and the remaining carrying value of these facilities and related assets; possible changes to MISO’s methodology establishing capacity planning reserve margin requirements that may impact how and when new generating facilities such as IPL’s and WPL’s additional solar and wind generation may be accredited with energy capacity and may require IPL and WPL to adjust their current resource plans, the need to add additional resources to comply with MISO’s proposal, or procure capacity in the market whereby such costs might not be recovered in rates; the impact of the lack of availability of existing and new generating facilities has on our accredited capacity for such facilities pursuant to MISO’s methodology for establishing capacity planning reserve margin requirements; the rates paid to transmission operators and how those costs are recovered from customers, including our ability to continue to use a transmission rider in Iowa; our ability to site, construct and recover costs for new natural gas pipelines; our ability to recover costs to upgrade our electric and gas distribution systems; the amount of certain sources of energy we must use, such as renewable sources; our ability to purchase generating facilities and recover the costs associated therewith; our ability to sell utility assets and any conditions placed upon the sale of such assets; our ability to enter into purchased power agreements and recover the costs associated therewith; the allocation of expenditures by transmission companies on transmission network upgrades and our ability to recover costs associated therewith; reliability; safety; the issuance of securities and ability to use other financing arrangements, such as tax equity financing to finance renewable energy projects; accounting matters; and transactions between affiliates. These regulatory authorities and organizations are also empowered to impose financial penalties and other sanctions, including requirements to implement new compliance programs. Failure to obtain approvals for any of these matters in a timely manner, or receipt of approvals with uneconomical conditions, may cause us not to pursue the construction of such projects or to record an impairment of our assets and may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Changes to these regulations could materially increase our costs or cause us to reconsider our strategy, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Provisions of the Wisconsin Utility Holding Company Act may limit our ability to invest in or grow our non-utility activities and may deter potential purchasers who might be willing to pay a premium for our stock.
Changes to certain tax elections, tax regulations and future taxable income could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations - We have significantly reduced our federal and state income tax obligations through tax planning strategies and the utilization of bonus depreciation deductions for certain expenditures for property. These tax planning strategies and bonus depreciation deductions have generated large taxable losses and tax credits that have resulted in significant federal and state net operating losses and tax credit carryforwards. We plan to utilize substantially all of these net operating losses and tax credit carryforwards in the future to reduce our income tax obligations. If we cannot generate enough taxable income in the future to utilize all of the net operating losses and tax credit carryforwards before they expire due to lower than expected financial performance or changes to tax regulations, we may incur material charges to earnings. In addition, our tax liability is determined by our taxable income multiplied by the current tax rates in effect. If the tax rates are increased or a minimum corporate income tax is implemented, as has been proposed by the current Presidential Administration, we may experience adverse impacts to our financial condition and results of operations.
Our utility business currently operates wind generating facilities, which generate production tax credits for us to use to reduce our federal tax obligations. The amount of production tax credits we earn is dependent on the date the qualifying generating facilities are placed in service, the level of electricity output generated by our qualifying generating facilities and the applicable tax credit rate. If there is a disagreement on the in-service date, the amount of production tax credits that we can generate may be significantly reduced. A variety of operating and economic parameters, including transmission constraints, the imbalance of supply and demand of wind energy resulting in unfavorable pricing for wind energy, adverse weather conditions and breakdown or failure of equipment, could significantly reduce the production tax credits generated by our wind farms resulting in a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Our strategic plan includes developing solar generating facilities, which are expected to generate investment tax credits. Investment tax credits are dependent on the date the qualifying generating facilities begin and end construction and the costs of the qualifying generating facilities. If there is a disagreement on the dates construction began and ended or the qualifying costs, the amount of investment tax credits awarded may be significantly reduced, possibly adversely impacting our financial condition and results of operations.
Our utility businesses are subject to numerous environmental laws and regulations - Our utilities are subject to numerous federal, regional, state and local environmental laws, regulations, court orders, and international treaties. These laws, regulations and court orders generally concern emissions into the air, discharges into water, use of water, wetlands preservation, remediation of contamination, waste disposal and containment, disposal of coal combustion residuals, hazardous waste disposal, threatened and endangered species, and noise regulation, among others. Failure to comply with such laws, regulations and court orders, or to obtain or comply with any necessary environmental permits pursuant to such laws and regulations, could result in injunctions, fines or other sanctions. Environmental laws and regulations affecting power generation and electric and gas distribution are complex and subject to continued uncertainty and could be changed by the current Presidential Administration. These laws and regulations have imposed, and proposed laws and regulations could impose in the future, additional costs on our utility operations. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, capital and other expenditures to comply with these and other environmental laws and regulations. Changes in or new development of environmental restrictions may force us to incur significant expenses or expenses that may exceed our estimates. There can be no assurance that we would be able to recover all or any increased environmental costs from our customers. Failure to comply with the laws, regulations and court orders, changes in the laws and regulations and failure to recover costs of compliance may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Actions related to global climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could negatively impact us - Regulators, customers and investors continue to raise concerns about climate change and GHG emissions. National regulatory action and international regulatory actions continue to evolve. We are focused on executing a long-term strategy to deliver reliable and affordable energy with lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions independent of changing policies and political landscape. However, it is unclear how these climate change concerns will ultimately impact us. We could incur costs or other obligations to comply with future GHG regulations, and could become the target of legal claims or challenges, because generating electricity using fossil fuels emits CO2 and other GHGs. Further, investors may determine that we are too reliant on fossil fuels, reducing demand for our stock, which may cause our stock price to decrease, or not buy our debt securities, which may cause our cost of capital to increase. We could face additional pressures from customers, investors or other stakeholders to more rapidly reduce CO2 emissions on a voluntary-basis, including faster adoption of lower CO2 emitting technologies and management of excess renewable energy credits. The timing and pace to fully achieve decarbonization is also contingent on the future development of technologies to reliably store and manage electricity, as well as electrification of other economic sectors. The EPA’s approach and timing for implementing rules to regulate CO2 emissions at fossil-fuel fired electric generating units remains undecided and subject to litigation and could change in the current Presidential Administration. Various legislative and regulatory proposals to address climate change at the national, state and local levels continue to be introduced. Potential future requirements to reduce CO2, methane and other GHGs from the energy and manufacturing sectors could affect our operations in various ways. Regulation or legislation mandating CO2 emissions reductions or other clean energy standards affecting utility companies could materially increase costs, causing some electric generating units to be uneconomical to operate or maintain. We are vulnerable to potential risks associated with transition to a lower-carbon economy that may extend to our supply chain and natural gas operations. Regulation of oil and gas production
could affect our upstream supply of natural gas for electricity generation and to provide directly to our residential and business customers from our local distribution company. This could result in rapid increased demand for alternative non-fossil energy sources and economy-wide electrification. Changes to regional and local climate trends such as the frequency, seasonality, and severity of weather conditions could directly and indirectly impact our company. Acute and chronic physical risks could disrupt our operations or affect our property. Furthermore, it could affect the timing of peak demand and overall energy consumption of our customers. We cannot provide any assurance regarding the potential impacts of climate change or related policies and regulations to reduce GHG emissions on our operations and these could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Economic, Financial and Labor Market Conditions
We are subject to employee workforce factors that could affect our businesses - We operate in an industry that requires specialized technical skills. Further, we must build a workforce that is innovative, customer-focused and competitive to thrive in the future in order to successfully implement our strategy. It may be difficult to hire and retain such a skilled workforce due to labor market conditions, such as low unemployment rates in our service territories, the length of time employees need to acquire the skills, and general competition for talent. We are also subject to collective bargaining agreements covering approximately 1,800 employees. Any work stoppage experienced in connection with negotiations of collective bargaining agreements could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations as well as our ability to implement our strategy.
We are subject to limitations on our ability to pay dividends - Alliant Energy is a holding company with no significant operations of its own. The primary sources of funds for Alliant Energy to pay dividends to its shareowners are dividends and distributions from its subsidiaries, primarily its utility subsidiaries. Our subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and have no obligation to pay any amounts to Alliant Energy, whether by dividends, distributions, loans or other payments. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or make distributions to Alliant Energy and, accordingly, our ability to pay dividends on Alliant Energy common stock will depend on regulatory limitations, earnings, cash flows, capital requirements and general financial condition of our subsidiaries. Our utilities have dividend payment restrictions based on the terms of regulatory limitations applicable to them. If we do not receive adequate dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries, then we may not be able to make, or may have to reduce, dividend payments on Alliant Energy common stock.
We may incur material post-closing adjustments related to past asset and business divestitures - We have sold certain non-utility subsidiaries such as Whiting Petroleum Corporation (Whiting Petroleum). We may continue to incur liabilities relating to our previous ownership of, or the transactions pursuant to which we disposed of, these subsidiaries and assets. Any potential liability depends on a number of factors outside of our control, including the financial condition of Whiting Petroleum, certain of its partners, and/or their assignees. Any required payments on retained liabilities, guarantees or indemnification obligations with respect to Whiting Petroleum or other past and future asset or business divestitures could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
We are dependent on the capital markets and could be negatively impacted by disruptions in the capital markets - Successful implementation of our strategy is dependent upon our ability to access the capital markets. We have forecasted capital expenditures of approximately $7 billion over the next four years. Disruption, uncertainty or volatility in the capital markets could increase our cost of capital or limit our ability to raise funds needed to operate our businesses. Disruptions could be caused by Federal Reserve policies and actions, currency concerns, inflation, economic downturn or uncertainty, monetary policies, a negative view of the utility industry or our company, failures of financial institutions, U.S. debt management concerns, U.S. debt limit and budget debates, including government shutdowns, European and worldwide sovereign debt concerns, other global or geopolitical events, or other factors. Increases in interest rates may cause the price of our equity securities to decline. Any disruptions in capital markets could adversely impact our ability to implement our strategy.
We rely on our strong credit ratings to access the credit markets. If our credit ratings are downgraded for any reason, such as worsening credit metric impacts, negative changes to our regulatory environment, or general negative outlook for the utility industry, we could pay higher interest rates in future financings, the pool of potential lenders could be reduced, borrowing costs under existing credit facilities could increase, our access to the commercial paper market could be limited, or we could be required to provide additional credit assurance, including cash collateral, to contract counterparties. If our access to capital were to become significantly constrained or costs of capital increased significantly due to lowered credit ratings, prevailing industry conditions, regulatory constraints, volatility of the capital markets, inflation or other factors, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our pension and other postretirement benefits plans are subject to investment and interest rate risk that could negatively impact our financial condition - We have pension and other postretirement benefits plans that provide benefits to many of our employees and retirees. Costs of providing benefits and related funding requirements of these plans are subject to changes in the liabilities of the plans and market value of the assets that fund the plans. The funded status of the plans and the related costs reflected in our financial statements are affected by various factors, which are subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty, including economic conditions, financial market performance, interest rates, life expectancies and demographics. Recessions and volatility in the domestic and international financial markets have negatively affected the asset values of our pension plans at various times in the past. Poor investment returns or lower interest rates may necessitate
accelerated funding of the plans to meet minimum federal government requirements, which could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.