MidAmerican Energy completes wind farms

Source: By George C. Ford, The Gazette • Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2016

MidAmerican Energy on Wednesday said it has completed two major wind energy installations in Iowa, adding more than 1,200 megawatts of electric generation.

The Highland wind farm in O’Brien County, which began providing electricity on Dec. 3, 2015, is the fifth and final piece of MidAmerican Energy’s Wind VIII project — the Des Moines utility’s largest wind energy project to date.

On Jan. 30, MidAmerican completed its Wind IX project when the Adams wind farm in Adams County began providing electricity.

The two wind energy projects bring MidAmerican’s total generation from the renewable energy source to almost 3,500 megawatts, an amount that represents about 42 percent of the company’s installed generation capacity.

In a news release, Mike Gehringer, MidAmerican vice president, renewable energy, said completion of the two projects marks a major milestone for the company, which owns and operates more wind turbines than any utility in the nation.

“Slightly more than 10 years ago, MidAmerican Energy did not own any wind energy generation,” Gehringer said. “Today, wind makes up the largest share of our generation portfolio. We project that by 2017, we will generate an amount equal to 57 percent of our total retail load.”

MidAmerican plans to begin construction in the spring on the Ida Grove and O’Brien wind farms, which will add up to 552 megawatts of wind generation capacity to the existing fleet. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

Plans call for approximately 134 turbines and up to 301 megawatts of generation capacity at the Ida Grove wind farm, and approximately 104 turbines and 250 megawatts of additional generation capacity at the new O’Brien wind farm.

Over the next 30 years, MidAmerican estimates that 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.