MidAmerican Energy Co. plans to expand its wind energy site in Pocahontas County and establish new wind farms at six other locations, including two more in western Iowa.
The Iowa Utilities Board gave MidAmerican the go-ahead to add up to 540 megawatts of new wind energy generation. In conjunction with the regulatory approval, MidAmerican said it would add 75 megawatts, or 50 turbines, to a project under construction near Pomeroy, MidAmerican spokesman Allan Urlis said Tuesday. It originally called for 123 megawatts. The project, being built by enXco Development Corp., is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
MidAmerican officials also are scouting for potential wind energy sites near the cities of Carroll, Spencer, Adair, Charles City, Orient and Walnut, Urlis said.
The wind energy expansion would solidify MidAmerican’s claim as the largest owner of turbines by a U.S. regulated utility. In Iowa, the company owns 323 turbines, including some located at sites that include Buena Vista and Sac counties and Carroll and Crawford counties.
The combination of MidAmerican’s existing wind turbines and planned wind expansion would bring its electric generation capacity from renewable energy sources to about 18 percent. That’s equivalent to removing about 682,000 cars – some 43 percent of the registered automobiles in Iowa – from the road and eliminating the emissions they place into the atmosphere, according to the company.
“MidAmerican Energy’s investment in wind energy generation is good for Iowa, good for the environment and good our customers,” MidAmerican president Todd Raba said in a statement.
MidAmerican said it is also making a “significant investment” in environmental upgrades at other power plants to reduce emissions, including a planned upgrade at its coal-fired Port Neal facility just south of Sioux City.
By Dave Dreeszen
Journal business editor
1 August 2007
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