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HDR Earns 2021 ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards in Wisconsin

BELOIT, WI — Several HDR projects received 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards from multiple state chapters of the American Council of Engineering Companies. The state chapters each recognize the winning project teams and clients at local awards ceremonies throughout the fall, winter, and spring.

The state-winning projects advanced to the national ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition, which culminates with the announcement of national award winners at the Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on April 27 in Washington, D.C. The gala, which recognizes the year’s most remarkable engineering achievements, is part of the 2021 ACEC Annual Conference.

The winning project in Wisconsin was the West Riverside Energy Center, which won a Best in State Award. West Riverside Energy Center is an important part of Alliant Energy’s vision to transition to a cleaner energy future. The $660-million generating facility is a highly efficient combined cycle natural gas facility located near Beloit, Wisconsin. The generating station produces 730 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 550,000 homes.

The West Riverside Energy Center continues the company’s more than 90-year history of serving the Beloit community. Alliant Energy ensured a collaborative and transparent public participation process, engaging community leaders and representatives from over 60 community groups throughout the design and construction process. HDR served as owner’s engineer. This was a project team effort between the owner, HDR as the Owners Engineer and AECOM, serving as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.

Multi-Benefit Project
Through use of plume abatement technology, expanding public space, and other innovative features, West Riverside Energy Center delivers multiple benefits to the community. For example, the new 0.6-mile Alliant Energy Peace Trail Extension overlooks the native landscaping surrounding the facility and connects to the 12-mile Peace Trail system. Alliant Energy also incorporated the community’s input on aesthetic features, including landscaping berms and trees to enhance the view and integrating the nostalgic "candy cane" striped stacks from the retired and removed Rock River Generating Station.
Energy Efficiency Strategies
The project team incorporated several energy efficiency strategies to minimize West Riverside Energy Center’s auxiliary load, which represents the amount of energy used to generate electricity. By using variable speed driven motors, lighting optimization, and solar-powered exterior lighting, the auxiliary energy consumption of West Riverside Energy Center is about 74 percent more efficient than the industry standard.
Restoration of Natural Systems
Alliant Energy restored 67 acres surrounding the facility with native prairie grasses and flowers, creating new habitats and improving habitat connectivity. Before restoring the native prairie, Alliant Energy contracted with a goat-for-hire company to control and eliminate overgrown buckthorn, garlic mustard, honeysuckle, and other nuisance plants on over 20 acres of infested areas in an ecologically friendly way. Adding native plants was also one approach to improve stormwater infiltration and enhance the quality of runoff from the site. In combination with other innovative stormwater management practices, West Riverside Energy Center is designed to increase the water storage capacity of the site and even harvest rainwater for use in the facility’s operations.
Improving Air Quality While Providing Reliable Power
Using natural gas for energy results in fewer emissions of nearly all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide than coal or other petroleum products to produce an equal amount of energy. Working in harmony with Alliant Energy’s growing portfolio of wind and solar power facilities, West Riverside Energy Center will improve air quality and provide customers with competitive and reliable power for decades to come. In addition, Alliant Energy developed a project-specific Climate Impact Assessment and Adaptation Plan, including a detailed review of potential climate change impacts and associated design and operational mitigation strategies.

Alliant Energy provides regulated energy service to 970,000 electric and 420,000 natural gas customers across Iowa and Wisconsin. Alliant Energy’s mission is to deliver the energy solutions and service customers and communities count on – safely, efficiently, and responsibly. Interstate Power and Light Company and Wisconsin Power and Light Company are Alliant Energy’s two public energy companies.

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