MidAmerican to build 1,050 MW of wind energy in Iowa

Iowa power company MidAmerican Energy expects to build wind farms in Iowa capable of generating about 1,050 megawatts of electricity by the end of 2015.

MidAmerican agreed to acquire the 500-MW Highland wind site from a unit of privately held U.S. power developer Invenergy LLC, the 250-MW Lundgren site from the renewable unit of France’s Electricite de France, and the 139-MW Wellsburg and 117-MW Macksburg sites from privately held wind site developer RPM Access LLC of Iowa.

MidAmerican, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings, also said it would expand its existing Vienna wind farm by about 45 MW.

MidAmerican said it selected a unit of German engineering firm Siemens AG to supply its 2.3 MW wind turbines for all the projects.

Siemens will manufacture the blades at its Fort Madison, Iowa facility, and the nacelles, which house the generating components, at its Hutchinson, Kansas facility, MidAmerican said.

MidAmerican said Mortenson Construction of Minnesota will build the Highland, Macksburg and Wellsburg projects, while Wanzek Construction of North Dakota will build the Lundgren and Vienna II projects.

Once complete, the new wind energy projects, which will consist of 448 wind turbines, will generate enough power to supply about 317,000 average Iowa homes, MidAmerican said.

MidAmerican said the wind expansion will provide more than $3 million in landowner payments each year and more than $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years.

The expansion will be constructed at no net cost to the company’s customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term, MidAmerican said.

The projects will create about 1,000 construction jobs during the two-year construction period, and about 40 new permanent jobs when the expansion is complete.

Iowa regulators approved of the wind expansion in August.

MidAmerican said it has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa since 2004. When the new projects are complete, the company said about 39 percent of its generation portfolio will come from wind resources.