MidAmerican Energy says that once its Wind XII project is complete, the utility will generate renewable energy equal to 100 per cent of its customers’ usage.  MidAmerican Energy photo.

MidAmerican Energy will hit target without increasing customers’ rates

In 2004, MidAmerican Energy generated 70 per cent of its electricity from coal.  On Wednesday, the subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, announced it will generate renewable energy equal to 100 per cent of its customers’ usage once it completes it Wind II project by 2020.

This will make the Iowa-based company the first investor-owned electric utility in the United States to do so.

The company formally filed its $922 million, 2,000 megawatt Wind XII project with the Iowa Utilities Board on Wednesday.

If approved by the IUB, the Wind II project combined with the Wind I and other repowering projects will provide 100 per cent renewable energy on an annual basis to 770,000 customers in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Illinois.

“Wind XII will transform our 100 per cent renewable energy vision from a bold dream into a reality,” Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy’s President and CEO, said.

Wright added “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.”

According to the company, construction of the Wind XII project will be completed without increasing customers’ electricity rates.

The project will create 300 full-time construction jobs 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.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowans “believe to our core that it is our responsibility to use the resources we are given in the best way possible”.

Reynolds said the sustainable approach taken by MidWestern Energy “has led Iowa to achieve the highest percentage of power generation coming from wind energy, more than any other state”.

I0wa is already a wind energy leader in the US, leading the country in percentage of electric generation coming from wind and energy rates in Iowa are the 9th lowest in the US, and sit at about 37 per cent below the national average.

The company is also investing in transmission infrastructure and working with its transmission provider to ensure it can carry the new power load.

Currently, MidAmerican is exploring potential wind farm sites in Iowa and will announce wind farm locations prior to constructing each site.

In times of low wind, the company says it will use its natural gas, nuclear and coal-fuelled plants to ensure reliable electric service.