Iowa energy provider MidAmerican Energy has announced plans this week to build two new wind farms with a combined capacity of 550 megawatts (MW) in Adair County, which will be a part of the company’s previously-announced 2 gigawatt (GW) Wind XI project.
Proving that combining investment and vision yields immediate results, MidAmerican Energy has announced yet another pair of wind farms as part of its mammoth Wind XI project — $3.6 billion economic drive to build 2 GW worth of wind energy across Iowa. The concept for Wind XI had been around for a few years before it was finally given full form in April of 2016 when MidAmerican Energy committed to investing in the project, receiving approval from the Iowa Utilities Board a few months later.
Wind XI is the largest economic development project in Iowa’s history, and in addition to its aim of installing 1,000 wind turbines across the state, MidAmerican Energy expects the project to result in over $1.2 billion in landowner easement and property tax payments over the next 40 years. This is not just pie in the sky numbers, either, considering that MidAmerican Energy already paid $19.6 million worth of property taxes on its existing wind farms.
Wind XI will also provide thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of operations jobs. All in all, upon completion, Wind XI should generate enough clean electricity to support more than 840,000 average Iowan homes. By 2020, MidAmerican Energy expects that renewable electricity will account for more than 90% of its customers’ annual retail electricity usage.
Announced on May 1, MidAmerican Energy confirmed two new additions to its Wind XI fleet with the unveiling of plans for the 250 MW Arbor Hill wind farm and the 300 MW Orient wind farm — the latter of which will have the option to scale up with 100 more wind turbines. Vestas Wind Systems A/S will provide a total of 275 2 MW wind turbines for the two projects which, upon completion in 2019, will generate clean electricity enough for 230,000 homes.
“This is another step forward for our Wind XI project,” said Mike Fehr, MidAmerican Energy vice president of resource development. “Every wind farm we add gets us closer to achieving our 100 percent renewable energy vision.”
Arbor Hill and Orient will join the company’s other Adair County wind farms, Adair, Morning Light, and Rolling Hills, and other Wind XI projects already under construction — Beaver Creek II and North English — and operating — Beaver Creek and Prairie. The latter two were completed and commissioned earlier this year.
“We have a bold vision for our energy future,” Bill Fehrman, CEO and president of MidAmerican Energy, said at the time. “We don’t know of another US energy provider that has staked out this 100% position. Our customers want more renewable energy, and we couldn’t agree more. Once the project is complete, we will generate wind energy equal to 85% of our annual customer sales in Iowa, bringing us within striking distance of our 100% renewable vision.”