MidAmerican adding $900M worth of new wind energy capacity in Iowa

Source: By Steve Jordon / Omaha World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Monday, May 4, 2015

MidAmerican Energy plans $900 million worth of new wind-generated electricity capacity in Iowa, bringing the total wind farm investment it has announced this week to $1.5 billion.

MidAmerican is a division of Berkshire Hathaway Energy of Des Moines, in turn, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. of Omaha. It said today it has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for up to 522 megawatts of generating capacity at two undisclosed locations in Iowa.

That’s on top of a 400-megawatt Nebraska wind farm, worth about $600 million, that MidAmerican announced Thursday.

The company’s wind energy investment in Iowa would total $6.7 billion. MidAmerican said it is obtaining permits and property easements at the two sites. Construction would start next spring and finish by the end of 2016.

MidAmerican said the added capacity would reduce its reliance on coal and ease the cost of meeting stricter environmental standards.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said the company had no wind generating capacity a decade ago. Once its proposed projects are completed, wind power will account for 57 percent of its capacity in Iowa.

“This puts us in a strong position to comply with future carbon emissions limits without placing the significant financial burden of that compliance on our customers,” he said. Once its plans are completed, MidAmerican would have about 2,000 wind turbines in Iowa.