The Perry Kiwanis Club was briefed by Marty Mensen, Alliant Energy manager of customer operations, at the club’s Tuesday meeting and luncheon at the Hotel Pattee in downtown Perry.
Mensen discussed the utility company’s new substation, recently installed south of Tyson’s Fresh Meats on Iowa Highway 141. The substation was designed to replace seven obsolete substations scattered around in Perry.
Two substations have already been dismantled, according to Mensen, one near the Bar-Jac Mobile Estates on the city’s northern boundary and a second near the Alliant Energy facility east of Pattee Park in Perry.
The remaining substations are to be dismantled in the next few months, he said.
The new, larger substation standardizes the power voltage distributed in Perry and the surrounding area. The new charge is 25 kilovolts, which means electric power can be moved a much longer distance. The substation on Perry’s western boundary also send power to consumers Woodward, Bagley and Bayard.
Mensen said much of the electric power Perry’s factories, businesses and residences use is generated at a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. Coal is gradually being phased out and replaced by cleaner-burning natural gas, he said, and wind and solar power options are also being used more frequently.
Renewable energy is more expensive to produce but much less harmful to the environment. New technologies are expected gradually to make renewable energy more efficient and cheaper to produce. Today the wind industry depends on federal subsidies and would not be able to operate profitably without the government’s intervention in the free market.