Iowa Utility Association

  • Phone: 515.282.2115
  • Fax: 515.282.7709
  • Mail: iuastaff@iowautility.org
  • Website: www.iowautility.org
  • Address: 500 East Court Avenue, Suite 312, Des Moines, IA 50309
Iowa’s Wind Boom

UPDATE — July 27, 2016: Alliant Energy announces $1 billion wind project to advance clean energy

Alliant Energy today issued a news release and hosted an event in Cedar Rapids with Alliant Energy CEO Patricia Kampling, Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility President Doug Kogg to announce the utility will invest approximately $1 billion to expand its wind energy operations in Iowa.

“Our customers expect low-cost, clean energy, which is exactly what this project will bring to the communities we serve,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “Wind has no fuel costs and zero emissions, making it a win-win for Iowans and the Iowa economy.”

Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility is seeking regulatory approval to expand its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County and possibly develop wind energy in other areas of the state. The five-year project will add up to 500 megawatts of clean energy to economically meet customer needs. The company is seeking approval now to maximize the value of renewable energy tax credits to benefit its customers.

The new wind project is part of Alliant Energy’s vision for a clean energy future. From 2005 to 2030, Alliant Energy is targeting a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the project will generate tens of millions of dollars in property taxes, and result in more than 1,500 jobs at the height of construction – boosting Iowa’s economy while supporting customers seeking to use more renewable energy.

For more details on the wind project, view the news release.

Wind announcement 7 27 16 LOWRES-6


UPDATE — May 23, 2016: MidAmerican Energy completes largest land-based wind turbine ever built in the United States, releases video depicting its construction

MidAmerican Energy Company today issued a news release and a new video depicting the construction of the largest land-based wind turbine ever built in the United States. The 2.415-megawatt concrete turbine tower at the Adams County, Iowa wind farm stands at 379 feet from ground to hub. Construction began in August 2015.

Mike Gehringer, vice president, renewable energy, said the concrete turbine featured in the video is a prototype that will allow MidAmerican Energy to evaluate the amount of additional wind energy that can be generated at higher altitudes.

The utility’s newly released video, Reaching New Heights,” (watch it below) uses a combination of time-lapse footage, aerial photography and behind-the-scenes action shots to document the steps involved in building MidAmerican Energy’s first concrete wind turbine tower.


UPDATE — April 14, 2016: MidAmerican Energy announces $3.6 billion wind investment; largest in state’s history

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, IEDA Director Debi Durham and MidAmerican Energy President Bill Fehrman today announced at a press conference the utility’s plan to invest $3.6 billion in another 2,000 MW of Iowa wind generation (read MidAmerican Energy’s official news release). The company has filed with the IUB its request to build the additional wind capacity that would increase its wind energy production equal to 85 percent of annual customer use.

Fehrman indicated the company is hoping for regulatory approval by the middle of this September so it can begin the project (Wind XI) investment by the end of 2016 and gain eligibility for the federal production tax credits. The utility CEO emphasized the additional wind capacity “is being done without asking for an increase in customer rates or financial assistance from the state to pay for it.”

“This project puts Iowa on track to be the first state in the nation to generate more than 40 percent of its energy needs from wind power – far ahead of any other state,” said Gov. Branstad. IEDA Director Durham spoke of the economic development advantages of Iowa’s renewable energy and said, “Iowa is a manufacturing state and Iowa’s renewable energy is important to companies looking to take advantage of renewable energy.”

See the following links for more information:


UPDATE — Feb. 3, 2016: MidAmerican Energy Completes Two Major Wind Projects

Per MidAmerican Energy’s news release: “With the completion of the Highland wind farm in O’Brien County and the Adams wind farm in Adams County, MidAmerican Energy Company has 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 Wind IX project when the Adams wind farm was placed in service. 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.


UPDATE — May 1, 2015: MidAmerican Energy announces plans for investment of approximately $900 million in new wind development.

The “wind boom” keeps booming in Iowa. MidAmerican Energy Company made news again this spring when it announced it filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for the development of up to 552 megawatts (MW) of new wind generation in Iowa at two new sites. MidAmerican Energy is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at those sites. Pending IUB approval, the company plans to begin construction in spring 2016, with completion scheduled for the end of 2016. Total cost of the project is approximately $900 million. Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy said, “We are very excited about building additional wind farms that will produce clean, carbon-free energy.” Fehrman also said, ““Wind continues to be a factor in keeping our customers’ electricity rates among the lowest in the nation.”

Since 2004, MidAmerican Energy has invested approximately $5.8 billion building wind projects in Iowa, placing the company far ahead of all other rate-regulated utilities in the nation in terms of wind ownership. With the addition of the two projects announced today, MidAmerican Energy’s wind assets will include approximately 2,000 turbines, more than 4,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity and a total investment of approximately $6.7 billion.

View MidAmerican Energy’s official news release.

Coinciding with the news of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge on July 27, 2015 was an article published on the same day in The Des Moines Register titled, “MidAmerican aiming for 57 percent of energy from wind,” where The Des Moines Register speaks with MidAmerican Energy President and CEO Bill Fehrman on renewable energy, including wind.

    VIDEO! MidAmerican Energy Company – From the Ground Up: Building our energy future, one turbine at a time:


UPDATE — October 10, 2014: MidAmerican Energy Plans to Invest Additional $280 Million in Wind Generation.

The Friday, October 10, 2014 announcement from MidAmerican Energy is in addition to last year’s $1.9 billion investment. Western Iowa is the recipient of the new $280 million investment, with one new wind farm site going up in Adams County and the expanding of a second site in O’Brien County.

If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the company’s proposed wind project would result in installation of up to 67 wind turbines. The project would add up to 162 megawatts of new wind generation capacity in Iowa. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.

View MidAmerican Energy’s official news release.

Below are official tweets from MidAmerican Energy’s and Gov. Terry Branstad‘s Twitter accounts:


May 8, 2013 — MidAmerican Energy to Invest $1.9 billion into Additional Wind Projects in Iowa

MidAmerican Energy’s May 8, 2013 announcement that it is investing up to $1.9 billion into additional wind projects in Iowa is a very big deal. Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad, alongside Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and MidAmerican Energy President and CEO William J. Fehrman, dubbed it “Iowa’s largest-ever economic development investment.” The May 8 announcement at the State Capitol means MidAmerican Energy will build up to an additional 1,050 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa, which is slated to create up to 656 new wind turbines and to generate approximately 3,335 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa by year-end 2015 at no net cost to the company’s customers (Read MidAmerican’s “Wind Energy Overview”).

Listen (begin at 11:53 mark)

PODCAST

MidAmerican Energy President CEO Bill Fehrman speaks with WHO Radio's Simon Conway about wind energy in Iowa.

And, in an August 12, 2013 news release, MidAmerican Energy named the five Iowa counties where it will build up to an additional 1,050 MW of wind generation and stated it will begin construction in Q4 2013 to take advantage of the ever-helpful production tax credit (PTC). This news release followed an August 9, 2013 order from the Iowa Utilities Board allowing MidAmerican Energy Company to proceed with the new wind generation development. The order approved the proposed settlement by the Office of Consumer Advocate and MidAmerican Energy in Docket No. RPU-2013-0003.

MidAmerican Energy already is number one in the U.S. for ownership of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities. Alliant Energy also is a significant owner and producer of wind energy in Iowa, and NextEra Energy maintains a small wind energy presence in the State.

And right now, wind is second only to coal as an energy source for electricity generation in Iowa. Iowa is currently ranked #3 of all states in the U.S. in installed wind energy, even though our wind energy resources are only 7th among all states. Will this new investment now move Iowa back up the rankings? Our state now produces nearly 25 percent of our total electricity demand from renewable energy. By the end of 2015, that percentage will grow.

To date, there are 3,198 turbines installed throughout Iowa. And to date, MidAmerican Energy has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa. Add that number with MidAmerican Energy’s forthcoming installation of hundreds more wind turbines, and it won’t be long before Iowa approaches 4,000 installed wind turbines.

That’s called a wind boom.

Read MidAmerican’s official press release about the latest investment.

Want more information on wind energy in Iowa and across the United States? You should also check out the Iowa Wind Energy Association at iowawindenergy.org and the American Wind Energy Association at awea.org.