The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a MidAmerican Energy proposal for the development of up to 1,050 MW of additional wind generation in Iowa by the end of 2015.
According to MidAmerican, the wind expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling more than $3 million per year also are expected as a result of the expansion. The expansion is planned to be built at no net cost to the company's customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term by providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.
The rate reduction will begin after MidAmerican Energy installs the first 350 MW of generation capacity. During construction, approximately 460 jobs will be added to the Iowa economy, and nearly 50 new permanent jobs will be added when the expansion is complete.
MidAmerican Energy announced plans May 8 to invest up to $1.9 billion to expand its wind generation fleet in Iowa. The company continues working with county officials and landowners and has secured development and interconnection rights for the wind farm sites, which are planned to be located in Grundy, Madison, Marshall, O'Brien and Webster counties. Construction is expected to begin in September, and all projects are planned for completion prior to the end of 2015.
The company began building wind projects in 2004 and, to date, has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa, making it the largest rate-regulated utility owner of wind generation in the U.S.
The electric generation capability for MidAmerican Energy will comprise approximately 39% wind, 33% coal, 18% natural gas, 6% nuclear and 4% other by July 2016. The wind expansion will have no impact on the company's current Iowa rate case.