By Alan Urlis
DES MOINES, Iowa—Sept. 24, 2004—MidAmerican Energy today officially announced the locations for its previously announced 310-megawatt wind project in Iowa.
The $323 million project will be located on two sites in north central and northwest Iowa. One site is an area north of Blairsburg, situated in Wright and Hamilton counties. The other location is southwest of Storm Lake in Buena Vista and Sac counties. Approximately 100 GE Wind Energy 1.5 megawatt wind turbines will be constructed at each location. Together, the sites will provide enough energy to power approximately 85,000 homes
"This project will result in significant long-term payments to dozens of landowners, the creation of 250 construction jobs and approximately 20 operations jobs, while also solidifying Iowa's position as a leading producer of power from this renewable, environmentally friendly source," said Todd Raba, president of MidAmerican Energy. "MidAmerican is making this significant investment in the state at a time when it has extended its electric rate agreement to keep rates stable through 2010.".
"I have challenged regulators, business professionals and utility companies in Iowa to work toward achieving 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010," said Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. "I am pleased that MidAmerican has taken a leadership role in that effort."
"This project represents an important first step in fulfilling the vision of Governor Vilsack and the Iowa Legislature to make Iowa a major wind energy producing state," said Greg Abel, president of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. "We are grateful both to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley for his tireless dedication to restoring and extending the wind tax credit and to our entire Iowa Congressional delegation, whose hard work helped result in passage of the federal production tax credit extension, which will encourage the development of wind energy resources."
"It's good to see companies like MidAmerican taking the initiative to build new, environmentally friendly energy production facilities," said Sen. Chuck Grassley. "As the father of the wind energy tax credit, it pleases me that the extension has been enacted, which ensures that this project will be completed in Iowa."
"This is good news for energy consumers, the environment and Iowa's rural economy," said Sen. Tom Harkin.
"I am pleased that additional wind energy facilities are now ensured of being constructed in Iowa," said Rep. Tom Latham, in whose congressional district a portion of the wind project is located. "It will be a clean and renewable source of energy that will be beneficial to Iowans and our environment."
Rep. Steve King, who also has part of the wind project in his congressional district, added, "Western Iowa has a great future as an energy center, and this project represents a major step forward in making the region's potential a reality.
A significant amount of development work has already been completed and erection of more than 100 wind turbines at the site in Sac and Buena Vista counties will likely be completed by the end of 2004. Construction at the site in Wright and Hamilton counties is scheduled for completion in 2005.
"This project will be a source of great pride for MidAmerican and these areas as well as an important economic stimulus," said Tom Budler, project manager for MidAmerican. "Wind energy will become a significant new cash crop for landowners
at these sites, and our project will provide new jobs and tax revenue for each of these four counties."
The project will use GE Wind Energy's 1.5 megawatt wind turbines, the largest wind turbines assembled in the U.S. and among the most widely sold and tested wind turbines in their size category, with more than 1,700 units installed worldwide.
"We are delighted with the opportunity to play a major role in a project that will help meet Iowa's goal to have 1,000 megawatts of renewable generation by 2010," said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Wind Energy. "Along with new wind power capacity, the MidAmerican project will bring economic benefits to the people of rural Iowa." He added, "The reliability of our 1.5 megawatt wind turbines is well proven in applications around the world. These machines are an excellent match for the strong, consistent winds that blow over northwest and north central Iowa."
Project developers enXco, Inc., and Clipper Windpower Development Company, Inc., also bring significant wind energy experience to what will be one of the world's largest land-based wind energy developments.
"We have been working with local landowners to plan this project for several years, and the host communities play a very important role in the project," said Joe Fahrendorf, vice president for business development at enXco. "MidAmerican's customers can be proud that a significant portion of the electricity they use in their homes, schools and workplaces will come from the wind."
"The state of Iowa is setting the standard for wind development in the U.S.," said Peter Stricker, development leader for Clipper. "Our experience in Iowa has been exceptional. Everyone from farmers to large utility companies to the governor's office understands the value of wind energy as an abundant, renewable resource and have aligned themselves to make this project one of the most impressive in the history of wind power. We are very pleased to be working with MidAmerican and the Iowans of Buena Vista and Sac counties who have chosen to participate in the project."
In addition to the wind generation project, MidAmerican is developing and constructing two other major generation projects. The 540-megawatt Greater Des Moines Energy Center in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, will be in service by the end of the year.
Construction of Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4, a 790-megawatt plant, began last September and is scheduled to be in service in the summer of 2007. The three projects, plus other system upgrades, represent an investment of approximately $1.7 billion in energy infrastructure that will serve all of MidAmerican's regulated customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota.
"MidAmerican's $1.7 billion investment is a significant contribution to Iowa's economy," said Mike Blouin, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. "The creation of more than 1,000 construction jobs and 100 operations jobs, while simultaneously keeping electric rates stable, helps all Iowans."
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