MidAmerican Energy Co. has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for the development of up to 552 MW of new wind generation in Iowa.
The company says it is in the process of obtaining the necessary permits and easements to build wind farms at two new sites. Pending IUB approval, the company plans to invest more than $900 million to begin construction next spring, with completion scheduled for the end of 2016.
Increasing the company's investment in wind turbines gives MidAmerican Energy the ability to reduce its reliance on coal – which helps protect customers from rising costs associated with meeting stricter environmental standards.
‘If we look back a little more than a decade ago, we did not own any wind generation resources across our system,’ explains Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy. ‘Once the proposed projects are completed, we're projecting that 57 percent of our total retail load could be served with energy from these turbines. This puts us in a strong position to comply with future carbon-emissions limits without placing the significant financial burden of that compliance on our customers.’
MidAmerican Energy customers have expressed their support for renewable energy – and wind makes the most economic sense for Iowa and the Midwest.
‘We have abundant wind resources in Iowa and community leaders and landowners who want wind development in their areas,’ Fehrman says. ‘Over the next 30 years, an estimated $1.5 billion in property taxes and lease payments will flow to local communities as a result of our wind projects.’
If the IUB approves the wind farms, MidAmerican Energy will have invested more than $6.7 billion in wind farm development. Its wind assets will include more than 2,000 turbines, which will generate more than 4 GW of wind generation capacity.