Iowa high court backs MidAmerican’s wind farm expansion

The court on Friday upheld a 2009 decision by the Iowa Utilities Board that guaranteed MidAmerican Energy could raise customers’ rates in the future to pay for a huge wind energy project set to be completed this year.

The court rejected a challenge by NextEra Energy Inc., a rival who argued MidAmerican didn’t demonstrate need for extra capacity and didn’t properly consider other alternatives.

In a 5-0 ruling, the court says the board’s decision was based on "substantial evidence" the expansion would reduce emissions, diversify the fuel supply, promote economic development and maintain reasonable prices for customers. MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen says the company is pleased with the ruling.