MidAmerican Energy Company is proposing a 400-megawatt farm comprising approximately 120 to 140 wind turbines that would be located in portions of Mills and Pottawattamie Counties.
“About 88% of the energy we delivered to our customers came through renewable energy sources over the course of the year, mostly through wind energy. We would like to raise that number to 100%, and this wind farm would help us get through that finish line,” MidAmerican Energy Company’s Geoff Greenwood said.
So far, MidAmerican Energy Company has met with prospective landowners to “talk shop” about the wind energy construction process, how it works and how landowner leases work.
“We’re not taking land; we are entering into voluntary agreements with landowners. These are generally about 40-year agreements and the advantage for a landowner is it’s farmland and it’s a steady income at least probably for the next 40 years, regardless of what commodity prices are and inputs at a farm,” Greenwood said.
Pottawattamie County Planning and Development Director Matt Wyant believes the farm could bring a lot of financial benefits.
“It is a very large increase in the tax valuation, it does help with property tax relief in other areas. We utilize funds generated from this and for Pottawattamie County Impact that allows us to partner with our small communities and help them grow in different areas,” Wyant said.
It’s a 40-year project that would pay a total of approximately 187 million in property taxes to both counties. Around 300 workers are needed to build it. Still, Mills County has a lot of variables to consider.
“With a project of this caliber, there’s going to be obstacles. Thus if the county needs to identify what those obstacles are, and decide the best course of action for our county, at this point it’s in the preliminary stages and we aren’t in a position to say if we are moving forward or are not moving forward,” Mills County Zoning Technician Holly Jackson said.
Current zoning ordinances in Mills County say the maximum height for a tower is 80 feet. The height of the towers MidAmerican proposes are between 280 and 350 feet. If the county moves forward, ordinances have to get adjusted.
“We hope that the county would agree to change that ordinance,” Greenwood said.
For any skeptics, Greenwood promises they’ll do the “heavy lifting” and help build a sustainable future for the Hawkeye state.
“It’s been a real bonus for the state. The State of Iowa is attracting businesses from all over, coming into Iowa just because we are offering this wind energy to all of our customers,” Greenwood said.
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