Iowa: Growing More Than Corn

Iowa Farm Scene

Announcement of $1.9 billion investment in additional wind turbine capacity is a windfall for Iowa.

Published on: May 13, 2013

MidAmerican Energy began building wind projects in 2004. To date, 1,267 wind turbines have been installed by the company in Iowa, representing a total investment of approximately $4 billion. In light of the recent federal production tax credit extension, the firm is asking to expand its wind generation capacity to enhance its renewables portfolio. MidAmerican estimates that by January 2016, when all new wind generation is expected to be operating, it may be capable of generating approximately 39% of its retail generation output through wind generation during that month.

Proposed wind energy expansion needs approval of Iowa Utilities Board

"The proposed wind expansion will not only add to MidAmerican Energy's and Iowa's position as a national leader in wind generation capacity, it'll help reduce future rates to our customers by as much as $10 million per year and further enhance our corporate principle of environmental respect by reducing our carbon footprint by 10.3%," said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO, MidAmerican Energy.

If the expansion is approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican Energy will own and operate approximately 3,335 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa by year-end 2015. Currently, MidAmerican Energy owns and operates approximately 2,285 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa and is No. 1 in the U.S. for ownership of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities.

MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa's largest energy company, provides electric service to 734,000 customers and natural gas service to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company's website and its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages which can be accessed at the MidAmerican Energy website.

This is the biggest single economic investment ever in Iowa

The MidAmerican Energy project becomes the biggest single economic investment ever in the state. "We've made that announcement a few times lately," said Branstad. Over the past year three companies have laid claim to that title and have switched off. First, Orascom Construction Industries announced it was building a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in southeast Iowa, then CF Industries said it would invest $1.7 billion in its fertilizer plant near Sioux City. Then Orascom recently announced it would boost its investment to $1.8 billion.