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Interstate Power and Light Company (“IPL”), a business wing of Wisconsin utility Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT - Snapshot Report), filed two applications for regulatory approval for the planned building of the 650 megawatt Marshalltown Generating Station (“MGS”) with the Iowa Utilities Board.

Interstate Power and Light is expected to receive a response in the fourth quarter of 2013. The subsidiary is also seeking to file regulatory tender to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in the next month.

The company has been heavily expanding and developing its utility assets in the Iowa region. Prior to this, Alliant Energy wrapped up its Power substation project in the Hardin County. Moreover, the company expects to invest over $3 million in the concerned area.

The natural gas-fired Marshalltown unit is a $650-$750 million investment which is expected to be a major revenue churner for Alliant Energy. In addition to providing reliable and safe power services, the combined-cycle plant will be cost-effective which will enable Iowa customers to accrue substantial benefits in the long run.

The MGS facility is a part of the company’s long-term energy resource plan. With the growing popularity of clean burning natural gas as a power source in the United States, we believe it will fetch profitable returns for the company. However, the success of this program is subject to positive regulatory outcome. Any opposite ruling could hurt Alliant Energy’s growth plans.

Alliant Energy expects adjusted earnings for 2012 in the range of $2.90 to $3.05 per share, up from its prior forecast of $2.75 to $3.05 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and full year 2012 currently stand at 59 cents and $2.97 per share, respectively.

Alliant Energy’s primary competitor Wisconsin Energy Corporation (WEC - Analyst Report) is gearing up to develop its renewable energy business with the 50-megawatt biomass-fueled power plant in northern Wisconsin.

Although economic conditions are still sluggish in the U.S., we believe large-scale utility investments will bode well for the company’s future goals. Alliant Energy presently has a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy rating).

Alliant Energy Corporation, a utility holding company, provides regulated electricity and natural gas services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Midwest region of the U.S.

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