MidAmerican Plans $280M Investment To Expand Its Iowa Wind Energy Portfolio

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Utility company MidAmerican Energy Co. has announced plans to invest up to $280 million more in Iowa wind generation to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County and expand a second site in O'Brien County.

If approved, the company's proposed wind project would result in the 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. Using wind as the fuel source to generate energy for this project helps the company reduce its fuel costs, which, in turn, helps stabilize electric rates for customers. Energy costs passed through to customers are projected to be reduced by approximately $93 million over 10 years, according to MidAmerican.

Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, joined Fehrman at a news conference to announce the latest wind expansion project.

"Iowa has attracted major tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, because of our low energy prices and commitment to renewable energy," said Branstad. "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 says it is working with county officials and landowners to secure development and interconnection rights for the project sites. The company expects these sites to provide more than $40 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years, along with annual landowner payments.

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

Coupled with projects currently under way in Grundy, Madison, O'Brien and Webster counties, MidAmerican Energy says it will have approximately 3.5 GW of wind generation capability in Iowa by year-end 2015. With the completion of this newest project, MidAmerican says it will have invested more than $6 billion for wind generation development in Iowa, making wind approximately 40% of its electric generator nameplate capacity.

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