DES MOINES- MidAmerican Energy Company is pleased by the Iowa Utilities Board's recent decision, which allows MidAmerican Energy to move forward with the development of up to 1,050 megawatts of additional wind generation in Iowa by the end of 2015.
MidAmerican Energy announced plans May 8, 2013, 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 2013, and all projects are planned for completion prior to the end of 2015.
Gov. Terry Branstad commented on the expansion in his weekly press conference today. "MidAmerican Energy continues to be a great partner in enhancing the state of Iowa's leadership in wind generation and expanding our renewable energy portfolio. This expansion will bring quality jobs and significant economic benefits to Iowa."
"We regularly speak with companies who are looking for green, renewable energy, and MidAmerican Energy's efforts are helping us market Iowa in recruiting new jobs," said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. "Not only is this the largest economic development investment in Iowa's history, it is a great story for us to share with potential businesses."
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 megawatts 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.
"The best way to meet our customers' energy needs is to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy through a diversified generation portfolio," said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO, MidAmerican Energy. "The wind expansion will help stabilize electric rates over the long term for our customers and also demonstrates MidAmerican Energy's commitment to lessen the environmental impact created by the process of electrical generation."
The company began building wind projects in 2004 and, to date, has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa, making MidAmerican Energy the largest rate-regulated utility owner of wind generation in the U.S.
"We are thankful for the support the governor's office, legislators and regulatory agencies have provided for our wind generation development," said Fehrman. "Working together, we have enhanced Iowa's economy and helped meet the growing customer demand for electricity through renewable energy generation."
The electric generation capability for MidAmerican Energy will comprise approximately 39 percent wind, 33 percent coal, 18 percent natural gas, 6 percent nuclear and 4 percent other by July 2016. The wind expansion will have no impact on the company's current Iowa rate case.