MidAmerican to pump $280m into more wind capacity in Iowa

MidAmerican Energy plans to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County, Iowa, and expand a second site in O’Brien County, Iowa, in 2015.

This represents an additional investment of up to $280m for the nation’s leader in ownership of wind-powered generation among rate-regulated utilities, the company said Oct. 10. If approved, the company’s proposed wind project would result in installation of up to 67 wind turbines. The project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, would add up to 162 MW of new wind generation capacity in Iowa.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said the new project reflects the company’s commitment to the development of renewable energy. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds joined Fehrman at a news conference to announce the latest wind expansion project.

“MidAmerican Energy’s commitment to wind generation garners long-lasting benefits and makes Iowa a competitive economic force not only in the United States but also in the world,” Branstad said. “Iowa has attracted major tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, because of our low energy prices and commitment to renewable energy. MidAmerican Energy’s newest wind project will help the state meet the demand for renewable energy that is attracting major companies and high-quality jobs to Iowa.”

“MidAmerican Energy’s investment in additional wind generation provides significant benefits to all citizens of Iowa,” Lieutenant Gov. Reynolds said. “Wind is now the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity in the country, and Iowa derives a greater percentage of its electricity from wind than any other state.”

“With this proposed expansion, beginning in 2016, MidAmerican Energy’s wind resources are expected to produce an amount of energy equivalent to approximately 50 percent of the retail energy customers are expected to need,” Fehrman said. “We’re extremely proud of how far we’ve come as a state, and as a company, since the installation of our first wind turbines a decade ago.”

Blades for the new turbines will be manufactured at the Siemens facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. The next step in the development process is for MidAmerican Energy to file for approval of this project with the Iowa Utilities Board. If the IUB approves the project, construction could start in the summer of 2015, with completion by the end of that year.

Coupled with projects currently underway in Grundy, Madison, O’Brien and Webster counties, MidAmerican Energy will have approximately 3,500 MW of wind generation capability in Iowa by year-end 2015. With the completion of this newest project, MidAmerican Energy will have invested more than $6bn for wind generation development in Iowa, making wind approximately 40% of its electric generator nameplate capacity.

MidAmerican Energy provides electric service to 739,000 customers and natural gas service to 719,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.