At a May 8 press conference at the State Capitol in Des Moines, officials of MidAmerican Energy Company announced plans to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa by year-end 2015. The wind energy expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling $3.2 million per year also are expected as a result of the expansion.
The company plans to build 656 new turbines by the end of 2015. MidAmerican has already erected 1,267 wind turbines, many in western and north-central Iowa. The firm pays farmers lease payments to allow turbines to be built on farms. MidAmerican declined to say where the new wind farms would be located. "If you look at a good wind map, you'll get an idea of where we'll be targeting," said Bill Fehrman, CEO of MidAmerican Energy.
Added wind generation capacity will help hold down electric bills
The expansion is planned to be built at no net cost to company customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term by providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad welcomes the planned expansion. "As a leader in wind generation, the state of Iowa appreciates the opportunity to expand our renewable energy portfolio," he said. "MidAmerican Energy's proposed project will be the largest economic development investment in the history of Iowa, bringing needed jobs here, as well as significant economic benefits."