With approval from the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican Energy Co. is moving forward with its Wind XI project, which will add up to 2 GW of wind generation in Iowa.
According to the Sierra Club, Wind XI, when placed into service, will be the U.S.’ largest ever wind energy project.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based energy provider first announced its plans and $3.6 million investment for Wind XI in April. MidAmerican Energy – which serves 752,000 electric customers and 733,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota – says the decision is a step toward the company’s 100% renewable vision.
Now that the board has approved the project, the company is finalizing plans to begin construction of the 1,000 wind turbines and have the project completed by the end of 2019. Earlier this year, Vestas entered into a conditional agreement to provide V110-2.0 MW turbines for the project.
MidAmerican Energy – which is not asking for an increase in customer rates or financial assistance from the state to pay for the project – says Wind XI is the largest wind farm the company has ever undertaken.
“This is an exciting day for our customers, the state of Iowa and MidAmerican Energy,” states Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy. “We thank the board for its support and for moving quickly to deliver this ruling.”
Wind XI will consist of multiple sites across Iowa. The sites, which are still being finalized, will be placed into service over a three-year period. The first and last sites are expected to be placed into service in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
According to the energy provider, the project will generate more than $1.2 billion in landowner easement and property tax payments over the next 40 years. Additionally, during construction, thousands of jobs will be added to Iowa’s economy, and hundreds of new permanent jobs will be added when the expansion is complete, adds MidAmerican Energy.
The Sierra Club notes in a press release that Wind XI will ensure Iowa homes and businesses will be running on 85% clean energy by 2020 (without any rate increase for customers). According to the group, this single wind project includes more wind than was installed in 40 states by the end of 2015.
“This is an amazing example of how the unstoppable transition toward a 100 percent clean energy economy is moving faster than many expected,” says Bruce Niles, senior director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “This is a landmark moment not only for the burgeoning wind energy industry in Iowa – a state which already runs on more than one-third wind energy and employs thousands of hard-working Iowans – but for the entire nation, as the largest wind project ever approved in the country.”