Carroll County Iowa to get wind farm

Source: Written by Matthew Patane, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Jersey energy company to invest $42 million in project.

A New Jersey energy firm has set its sights on Carroll County for a $42 million wind farm investment.

NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire its second onshore wind project on 1,100 acres in the county.

MidAmerican Energy will sell the energy produced at the Carroll County wind farm under a 25-year power purchase agreement with NJR.

New Jersey Resources is an energy provider based in Wall, N.J. It has more than 900 employees and comprises five business segments, including NJR Clean Energy Ventures. That business segment owns and operates solar and onshore wind projects with a total capacity of more than 56 megawatts, the company said in a statement.

The company plans to own and operate the wind farm, which is expected to have a total capacity of 20 megawatts. NJR said it will contract with Mortenson Construction for the project.

Michael Kinney, a spokesman for NJR, said the company expects the project to create between 80 and 100 jobs during construction. The company will then hire a few local contractors to operate and maintain the site.

He also said NJR is in talks with Siemens Energy about the nine wind turbines that will be on the site. NJR expects the wind farm to be operational by spring 2015.

The New Jersey company’s investment comes at an interesting time for Iowa’s wind energy industry. Iowa generates about 25 percent of its energy from wind, a higher percentage than any other state.

Late last year, MidAmerican Energy and Siemens announced the world’s largest order of onshore wind turbines, which are set to equip five wind energy projects, all in Iowa.

On the other hand, further development of wind energy installations may be delayed by the expiration of a federal tax credit. The federal production tax credit provided 2.3 cents-per-kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by utility-scale turbines for 10 years.

That tax credit expired at the end of 2013, however, causing the wind energy industry to warn that the fate of new projects is uncertain. Projects started before the end of the year are still eligible for the tax credit.

On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate approved a resolution asking the federal government to renew the tax credit.

Since NJR had one of its subsidiaries developing the Carroll County land before the end of the year, Kinney said the company expects the project to qualify for the tax credit.