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Ground Broken on Long-Awaited Project in Marshalltown

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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- Some informally called it "Plan B," because it wasn't what energy and community leaders originally envisioned to help provide power in Marshalltown.

But Tuesday afternoon, officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony on a new $920 million gas-powered plant. The plant sits southwest of the existing coal plant, Sutherland Station.

Alliant Energy originally wanted an additional $1 billion plus coal-powered plant. That was "Plan A." But environmentalists helped killed the deal in 2009 under Democratic Governor Chet Culver.

This new plant is expected to provide power to more than 500,000 according to Alliant officials.

"This is huge," Governor Terry Branstad said. He added projects like this one, "Don't come every day."

Alliant expects the plant to be operating by 2017.