Project Development, Wind Power

360 MW Wind Project Online in Iowa

MidAmerican Energy’s 360.5 MW wind project — 257 wind turbines in north central and northwest Iowa — is now online. According to the company, this project makes MidAmerican the third leading owner of wind energy in the nation, by total generation capacity. The wind project itself is also one of the largest in the nation.

The 122nd and final wind turbine was commissioned recently at the Intrepid site near Schaller in northwest Iowa. On Nov. 30, the 135th and final wind turbine was commissioned at the Century site near Blairsburg in north central Iowa. Together, the two sites have the capacity to produce enough electricity to power 100,000 homes. “MidAmerican is committed to the development of renewable energy,” said wind project manager Tom Budler. “The initial 310.5 megawatts of electric generating capacity and the additional 50 megawatts brings MidAmerican’s portfolio of renewable energy to approximately nine percent of its total generating capacity, one of the highest percentages in the nation.” MidAmerican received the Renewables Project of the Year Award on Dec. 1 at the 2005 Platts Global Energy Awards for its wind project. Last May, MidAmerican received the American Wind Energy Association’s Utility Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership in the increasing utilization of wind power by the electric utility industry. According to the American Wind Energy Association, MidAmerican is now No. 3 in the U.S. in ownership of wind energy installations. MidAmerican announced plans to build a 310 MW wind facility in March 2003 following Gov. Tom Vilsack’s challenge to state regulators, business leaders and utility companies to work toward achieving 1,000 MW of renewable energy generation in Iowa by 2010. In September 2005, MidAmerican completed the original 310.5 MW project. The additional 50 MW of electric generating capacity, approved by the Iowa Utilities Board in January 2005, was completed Dec. 13. Today, MidAmerican owns or has under contract 489 MW of renewable energy. The wind project is only one part of MidAmerican’s commitment to a stable and diverse energy supply for Iowans. The Greater Des Moines Energy Center, a combined-cycle generating station that uses natural gas as its fuel source and has the capacity to generate 540 MW of electricity, was completed last December. Construction began in September 2003 on a 790-MW coal-fueled generating facility in Council Bluffs, which is scheduled to be in commercial operation in the second quarter 2007. Together, the three generation projects represent an investment of approximately $1.5 billion by MidAmerican in Iowa’s economy. MidAmerican is making this significant investment while committing not to seek an increase in electric rates through at least 2010.