MidAmerican unit to buy California wind projects

A subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings (MEH) has agreed to acquire 300 MW of wind power generation at a major renewable energy complex in California.

MidAmerican Wind, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables, whose parent is Iowa-based MEH, said Sept. 30 it has agreed to buy the 168-MW Alta Wind VII and the 132-MW Alta Wind IX projects from California Highwind Power, a subsidiary of Terra-Gen Power LLC. The projects are in Tehachapi, Calif., and will feature a total of 100 Vestas 3-MW V90 wind turbines.

Terra-Gen is a major wind energy developer and an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners.

“The Alta Wind VII and Alta Wind IX projects demonstrate MidAmerican Wind’s commitment to developing wind generation in the U.S.,” said MidAmerican Wind President Tom Budler.

When complete, Southern California Edison (SCE) will purchase electricity from each of the projects pursuant to the terms of power purchase agreements that extend to 2035. The projects will interconnect to the Edison International (NYSE: EIX) subsidiary’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.

The Alta Wind VII and Alta Wind IX projects are part of the Alta Wind Energy Center. The completion of the two projects will bring the total capacity of the Alta Wind Energy Center to 1,320 MW. Approximately 1,020 MW are currently in operation.

The American Wind Energy Association’s recent market report for 2011 identified Alta Wind as the nation’s largest wind farm, according to the Terra-Gen website. Financial backers of the Alta Wind project have included Citi and Google, Terra-Gen has said.

With the addition of this 300-MW wind project, MidAmerican Renewables’ portfolio includes more than 1,250 MW of owned renewable energy assets, said MidAmerican Renewables President Bill Fehrman. “We are excited about this project and look forward to finding more opportunities to own and operate renewable energy resources that support our core principle of environmental respect.”

MidAmerican is growing its unregulated wind portfolio. MidAmerican began building wind energy projects in 2004. The company has built or acquired more than 3,300 MW of wind generation.

MidAmerican is also in the second year of a three-year study to explore potential nuclear power generation in Iowa.

MEH is part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, controlled by investor Warren Buffett.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.