DES MOINES, Iowa – (Feb. 3, 2016) – With the completion of the Highland wind farm in O’Brien County and the Adams wind farm in Adams County, officials with MidAmerican Energy Company say they’ve wrapped up work on two major projects adding more than 1,200 megawatts of wind generation capacity for customers.
The Highland wind farm, which was placed in service on December 3, 2015, is the fifth and final piece of MidAmerican Energy’s Wind VIII project – the company’s largest wind project to date, and one of the largest economic development projects in Iowa history. On January 30, MidAmerican Energy completed its 153.4 megawatt, Wind IX project when the Adams wind farm was placed in service. The 67 new turbines represent a $280 million investment. The project marked the first time a concrete tower was used. Normally, the towers are constructed from steel.
Together, Wind VIII and Wind IX bring MidAmerican Energy’s total wind generation capacity to nearly 3,500 megawatts, an amount that represents about 42 percent of the company’s installed generation capacity. Mike Gehringer, vice president, renewable energy, said the completion of the two projects marks a significant milestone for MidAmerican Energy, which owns and operates more wind turbines than any utility in the nation. Gehringer said “Today, wind makes up the largest share of our generation portfolio, and we project that by 2017, we will generate an amount equal to 57 percent of our total retail load with clean, non-carbon energy from our wind projects in Iowa.”
Officials say construction of MidAmerican Energy’s wind projects has spurred economic development in the state, creating thousands of construction jobs and almost 200 permanent jobs in rural Iowa. Over the next 30 years, the company’s wind projects will generate more than $1.5 billion in lease payments to landowners and property tax payments to schools, cities and counties.