BY KELLY MADSEN | IOWA ENERGY CENTER
In May 2013, MidAmerican Energy Company announced a $1.9 billion investment in new Iowa wind farms, the largest economic development investment in the history of the state. During the Iowa Energy Center’s Lecture Series held on Nov. 21, 2013, over 40 participants from around the state gained insight into MidAmerican Energy’s inspiration and details on how the project has advanced in the past six months.
“With the $1.9 billion wind energy investment, we knew it was the right move for our company, our customers, and the state of Iowa. We are committed to being proactive in the energy industry, and we want our customers to understand and value our decisions as a company,” said Dean Crist, lecture presenter and vice president of regulation at MidAmerican.
Economically, the national production tax credit allowed for MidAmerican to finance the wind turbines and provide lower rates for customers. Investing in such a large amount of wind energy required the “perfect storm” of investment conditions, most notably the production tax credit, Crist said.
Since May, MidAmerican has begun working in five project sites across the state including Grundy, Madison, Marshall, O’Brien, and Webster counties. At all five sites, major contracting requirements are complete and discretionary county permits have been received. In addition, wind farm construction has begun at the 44-megawatt Vienna II site in Marshall County.
With the project’s strong progress, Crist said he expects the full wind project to be completed in late 2015. The project is expected to add 656 new turbines with 1,050-megawatt generation capacity to MidAmerican’s energy portfolio, likely 40 percent of its retail generation.
The Iowa Energy Center Lecture Series invites leading professionals to share their expertise in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency with Iowa’s citizens. “Through these lectures, we can attract experts on topics that are of current interest and importance to Iowans,” said Mark Petri, director of the Iowa Energy Center. “And providing quality information is one of our key missions at the Iowa Energy Center.” All Iowans are invited to attend the semi-annual lectures in person or via webinar.