Big wind in Iowa

The MidAmerican Energy Company plans to build 310 MW of wind energy generation facilities in Iowa, the largest land-based wind project in the world.

The MidAmerican Energy Company plans to build 310 MW of wind energy generation facilities in Iowa.

The $323 million wind project plus two other plants – the Greater Des Moines Energy Centre (540 MW) in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, and the Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4 (790 MW) – represent an investment of approximately $1.4 billion in Iowa by MidAmerican. The three projects’ combined output will be 1,640 MW of new electric generation.

Information from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories shows MidAmerican’s new wind project will be the largest land-based wind energy installation in the world.

The project will consist of 180 to 200 wind turbines, each generating approximately 1.5 to 1.65 MW. A site has yet to be selected, but the facilities are expected to be located in the northwest or north-central portion of the state. The project also will require investment in associated energy transmission facilities.

The first units are expected to come on-line by the end of 2004 and the project should be completed by the end of 2006. 310 MW of wind capacity will provide enough electricity on average to power approximately 85,000 homes.

When the wind project is complete, MidAmerican Energy will own or have under contract in Iowa more than 435 MW of wind, biomass or hydroelectric energy.

MidAmerican also expects to invest up to an additional $300 million in environmental improvements to existing coal-fuelled generating plants during the next seven years as part of the company’s compliance with US President George Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative.

For MidAmerican to go forward with the wind project as planned, it must receive regulatory approvals.