MidAmerican’s Wind IX Project In Iowa Gains State Approval

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The Iowa Utilities Board recently issued an Order on Rehearing approving MidAmerican Energy Company’s proposed Wind IX Iowa electric generation project of up to 162 MW.

The board has long been supportive of renewable energy as part of Iowa’s generation mix. As the Board notes in the order, wind projects have many benefits and the Board appreciates the economic benefits wind development brings to the state, but they also have some risks. While the Board has and will continue to encourage such projects, the projects must provide benefits to customers that are commensurate with the risk that customers will be bearing.

The Board’s order affirms its January 20 decision approving a settlement with modifications for advance ratemaking principles. That order included an annual $2 million energy adjustment clause (EAC) credit to MidAmerican electric customers as an advance ratemaking principle tied to construction of the proposed project. The Board noted, “Without such a principle, the risks and rewards of Wind IX are skewed too much towards MidAmerican for the Settlement Agreement to be reasonable and in the public interest.”

On January 22, MidAmerican Energy filed a petition for limited reconsideration asking that the Board not require MidAmerican to pay the annual $2 million credit to its electric customers. The board stated in today’s order that it “views the settlement agreement as a whole, and determined that this settlement agreement was not reasonable or in the public interest without the modifications contained in the final order, including the EAC credit.”

In its January 20 Decision Order, the Board included a settlement modification providing that once 50 MW of the proposed wind project is in operation, an additional $2 million in annual benefits would flow to MidAmerican’s electric customers until the next MidAmerican rate case proceeding is decided by the Board.

MidAmerican will have 30 days from the date of today’s decision order to notify the Board whether it accepts the ratemaking principles awarded. If accepted, the ratemaking principles would be effective for the regulated life of the facilities.   

— Source: Iowa Utilities Board