Utility will build wind turbines in 5 Iowa counties

Source: AP • Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a $1.9 billion project from the state’s largest utility to install hundreds of wind turbines by the end of 2015, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday.

Branstad called the Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Company’s plan a “win-win” for the state.

Construction is slated to begin in September on the 448 turbines planned for Grundy, Madison, Marshall, O’Brien and Webster counties, Branstad said. When the company announced the expansion in May, it did not announce locations.

When completed, the new turbines will have the capacity to generate as much as 1,050 megawatts of wind power, representing nearly 40 percent of energy used by customers.

Customers won’t experience rate increases due to the project because federal tax credits are expected to offset its cost over the next 30 years. Utility officials say customers could eventually see a slight decrease in their bills as a result of the project.

MidAmerican is Iowa’s largest energy company, bringing electricity to 734,000 customers and natural gas to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. MidAmerican began building wind turbines in 2004, and it currently has 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa.

Iowa leads the nation in wind energy production, getting 24.5 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s Annual Market Report for 2012.