by Ken Root
Iowa made history Thursday with the largest economic development project in the state’s history….to expand wind energy generation.
MidAmerican Energy will asked the Iowa Utilities Board to allow them to build a project called “Wind Eleven” that will add 2,000 megawatts of wind generation in the state.
CEO and President Bill Fehrman says the goal is larger than any other utility in any other state.
“Our company has a very bold dream. That dream is to one day delivery 100% renewable energy to our customers. In fact, if you look back 12 years, we didn’t have any wind on our system and coal made up 70% of our generation. By the end of this year, we will have built 4,048 megawatts of wind energy across 2,020 turbines. With the completion of this project, MidAmerican will generate wind energy that will equal 85% of our annual customer sales in Iowa.”
The news conference, held under the wind tower at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines highlighted the current success of wind power at 31% of retail customer usage with towers on 2,400 land owner properties in strategic wind fields across the state.
Debbie Durham, state director of economic development is elated.
“We’re really setting on something that is powerful because it distinguishes us and differentiates us from the marketplace.”
MidAmerican pointed out that the regulatory environment for carbon is of great concern and make coal and gas fired plants more difficult to keep online. Federal Tax Credits for wind, however, are so attractive that the company projects recouping the entire 3.6 billion dollars of investment in ten years. Fehrman projects it will be a zero cost expansion for the ratepayer.