MidAmerican Energy Company will be the first investor-owned electric utility in the country to generate renewable energy equal to 100 percent of its customers’ usage on an annual basis, upon completing its newest proposed wind energy project.
MidAmerican Energy proposed an additional investment of $922 million with the announcement of its Wind XII project that will be formally filed with the Iowa Utilities Board later. The project, if approved, is expected to be completed in late 2020. Over the past three years, MidAmerican Energy has moved forward with its previously announced Wind XI and repowering projects, that when combined with Wind XII, will provide customers with 100 percent renewable energy on an annual basis. And, like MidAmerican’s previous wind projects, Wind XII will be accomplished without the need to ask for an increase in customers’ rates.
“Wind XII will transform our 100 percent renewable energy vision from a bold dream into a reality,” Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy’s President and CEO, said. “We are listening and working with our customers to put them first. Wind XII is a clear demonstration of our commitment to and investment in the cleaner, more sustainable energy future our customers want and our environment deserves. We have been able to invest in renewables while at the same time keeping electric rates affordable for the long term, creating a one-of-a-kind win-win solution.”
MidAmerican Energy’s investment in renewables has helped make Iowa a national wind energy leader. Iowa leads the country in the percentage of electric generation coming from wind.
“Iowans are used to leading the way. We believe to our core that it is our responsibility to use the resources we are given in the best way possible. It’s that sustainable approach that has led Iowa to achieve the highest percentage of power generation coming from wind energy, more than any other state,” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds stated. “And, it doesn’t hurt that we have a company like MidAmerican Energy that has taken the long view and is forward-looking in its goal to provide sustainable and affordable energy to its customers.”
Economic benefits for Iowa
When combined with MidAmerican Energy’s other projects, the 591-megawatt Wind XII project will allow the company to provide renewable energy each year that is equal to 100 percent of the energy consumed by the homes and businesses in MidAmerican Energy’s Iowa service area.
The company estimates Wind XII will create more than 300 full-time jobs related to construction and another 28 full-time positions for ongoing operations and maintenance.
In addition, Wind XII will provide an average $6.9 million per year in additional Iowa property tax payments on wind turbines and nearly $5.6 million more in annual landowner easement payments.
In 2017, MidAmerican Energy paid $19.6 million in Iowa property taxes on wind turbines.
“This is an important step forward for our company, our customers and the state of Iowa,” Wright said. “In addition to delivering on our promise to customers, we are also helping to make Iowa a more competitive place to do business – ensuring that our economy continues to grow and thrive. This historic moment is something we are proud to share.”
The company is currently exploring potential wind farm sites in Iowa and will announce wind farm locations prior to constructing each site.
MidAmerican Energy will continue to use its natural gas, nuclear and coal-fueled plants to ensure reliable electric service even in times of low wind.