With the completion of the Highland wind farm in O’Brien County and the Adams wind farm in Adams County, MidAmerican Energy has wrapped up work on two major U.S. projects.
The Highland wind farm, which was placed in service on December 3, 2015, is the fifth and final piece of MidAmerican Energy’s Wind VIII project – the company’s largest wind project to date. It also represents one of the largest economic development projects in Iowa history.
Plus, on January 30 of this year, MidAmerican completed its Wind IX project when the Adams wind farm was placed in service. Together, Wind VIII and Wind IX bring MidAmerican Energy’s total wind generation capacity to nearly 3,500 MW, an amount that represents about 42% of the company’s installed generation capacity.
Mike Gehringer, the company’s VP of Renewable Energy, said the completion of the two projects marks a significant milestone for MidAmerican, which currently owns and operates more wind turbines than any utility in the nation.
“Slightly more than 10 years ago, MidAmerican Energy didn’t own any wind energy generation,” Gehringer said. “As a company, we committed to develop wind as a resource for our customers. Today, wind makes up the largest share of our generation portfolio, and we project that by 2017, we will generate an amount equal to 57% of our total retail load with clean, non-carbon energy from our wind projects in Iowa.”
Gehringer said the fact that wind is a free and abundant source of energy in Iowa helps MidAmerican Energy maintain low electricity rates for customers while meeting environmental goals. “Our investment in wind farms has put us in a strong position to comply with future environmental requirements without placing significant financial burden for that compliance on customers,” he added.
Construction of MidAmerican Energy’s wind projects has spurred economic development in the state, creating thousands of construction jobs and almost 200 permanent jobs in rural Iowa.
Over the next 30 years, the company’s wind projects will generate more than $1.5 billion in lease payments to landowners and property tax payments to schools, cities and counties. MidAmerican Energy’s commitment to wind has helped Iowa attract energy-intensive businesses to locate and expand facilities here, enhancing the state’s economy.
“Without a doubt, our investment in wind projects has been good for our customers, good for communities, good for the environment and good for the state of Iowa,” Gehringer said.
MidAmerican Energy Company provides electric service to 746,000 customers and natural gas service to 726,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.