With the completion of the Highland wind farm in O’Brien County, Iowa, and the Adams wind farm in Adams County, Iowa, MidAmerican Energy said Feb. 3 that it has wrapped up work on two major sets of projects adding more than 1,200 MW of wind capacity.
The 495-MW Highland wind farm, which was placed in service on Dec. 3, 2015, is the fifth and final piece of MidAmerican Energy’s 1,050-MW Wind VIII project – the company’s largest wind project to date, and one of the largest economic development projects in Iowa history.
On Jan. 30, MidAmerican Energy completed its 162-MW Wind IX project when the 154.3-MW Adams wind farm was placed in service.
Together, Wind VIII and Wind IX bring MidAmerican Energy’s total wind generation capacity to nearly 3,500 MW, an amount that represents about 42% of the company’s installed generation capacity.
Mike Gehringer, vice president, renewable energy, said the completion of the two projects marks a significant milestone for MidAmerican Energy, which owns and operates more wind turbines than any utility in the nation.
“Slightly more than 10 years ago, MidAmerican Energy didn’t own any wind energy generation,” Gehringer said. “As a company, we committed to develop wind as a resource for our customers. Today, wind makes up the largest share of our generation portfolio, and we project that by 2017, we will generate an amount equal to 57 percent of our total retail load with clean, non-carbon energy from our wind projects in Iowa.”
Construction of MidAmerican Energy’s wind projects has spurred economic development in the state, creating thousands of construction jobs and almost 200 permanent jobs in rural Iowa.
The MidAmerican website noted: “MidAmerican Energy plans to begin construction in the spring of 2016 on the Ida Grove and O’Brien wind farms, which will add up to 552 megawatts of wind generation capacity to the existing fleet. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. Plans call for approximately 134 turbines and up to 301 megawatts of generation capacity at the Ida Grove wind farm, and approximately 104 turbines and 250 megawatts of generation capacity at the new O’Brien wind farm.”
MidAmerican Energy provides electric service to 746,000 customers and natural gas service to 726,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.