MidAmerican Launches $900 Million Wind Farm Development Plans

Utility seeks to add up to 552 MW of wind generation capacity in Iowa in 2016

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MidAmerican Energy is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at two new sites. Pending IUB approval, the company plans to begin construction in spring 2016, with completion scheduled for the end of 2016. Total cost of the project is approximately $900 million. Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy said, “We are very excited about building additional wind farms that will produce clean, carbon-free energy.”

Fehrman said the company continues to focus on developing wind projects because wind generation offers many clear benefits for MidAmerican Energy customers. “Wind continues to be a factor in keeping our customers’ electricity rates among the lowest in the nation.”

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad noted that MidAmerican Energy’s efforts have helped the state become a national leader in wind generation. “Iowa derives a greater percentage of its electricity from wind than any other state, and we’re second in the nation in the number of people employed in the wind industry,” Branstad said. “Thanks to our low electricity prices and commitment to renewable energy, major tech companies and other energy-intensive businesses are interested in locating and expanding facilities here, which is good economic news for all Iowans.”

Increasing the company’s investment in wind turbines gives MidAmerican Energy the ability to reduce its reliance on coal, which helps protect customers from rising costs associated with meeting stricter environmental standards.

“If we look back a little more than a decade ago, we did not own any wind generation resources across our system,” said Fehrman. “As a company, we made a commitment to developing wind as a resource for our customers, and we’re proud to say we’ve followed through with and expanded upon that commitment. Once the proposed projects are completed, we’re projecting that 57 percent of our total retail load could be served with energy from these turbines. This puts us in a strong position to comply with future carbon emissions limits without placing the significant financial burden of that compliance on our customers.”
MidAmerican Energy customers have expressed their support for renewable energy, and today, wind makes the most economic sense for Iowa and the Midwest.

“We have abundant wind resources in Iowa and community leaders and landowners who want wind development in their areas,” Fehrman said. “Over the next 30 years, an estimated $1.5 billion in property taxes and lease payments will flow to local communities as a result of our wind projects.”

Since 2004, MidAmerican Energy has invested approximately $5.8 billion building wind projects in Iowa, placing the company far ahead of all other rate-regulated utilities in the nation in terms of wind ownership. With the addition of the two projects announced today, MidAmerican Energy’s wind assets will include approximately 2,000 turbines, more than 4,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity and a total investment of approximately $6.7 billion.
 
— Source: MidAmerican Energy Company