$1.9 billion MidAmerican Energy project to boost Iowa wind power

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    Wind turbines stand on farmland near Massena, Iowa.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013 12:00 am

MidAmerican Energy Co. said Wednesday it has started Iowa's largest wind generation expansion, totaling 448 turbines and $1.9 billion at five sites around the state.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to develop up to 1,050 megawatts of additional wind generation in Iowa by the end of 2015. Construction is now underway at all five sites.

The turbines will have a capacity to provide power for about 317,000 homes, the Des Moines-based company said.

MidAmerican is acquiring a 500-megawatt project from Highland Wind Energy LLC to be built in O'Brien County; a 250-megawatt project in Webster County from EDF Renewable Energy; and two RPM Access LLC projects in Grundy County and Madison County totaling 155 megawatts.

MidAmerican is adding 44.6 megawatts to its existing wind farm in Marshall County.

Siemens Energy will supply turbines, with blades manufactured in Fort Madison, Iowa, and other parts in Hutchinson, Kan.

Mortenson Construction of Minnesota and Wanzek Construction of North Dakota will build the projects, creating about 1,000 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said the sites will provide more than $3 million in annual payments to landowners and more than $360 million in property taxes over the next 30 years.

The expansion will not add costs for existing customers and will help stabilize electrical rates over the long term, the company said.

MidAmerican has installed 1,276 other wind turbines in Iowa since 2004. When the five projects are complete by the end of 2015, approximately 39 percent of MidAmerican Energy's generation portfolio will come from wind resources.

MidAmerican Energy Co., 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.

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