Wind energy

A MidAmerican Energy Co. wind turbine is shown east of Schaller, Iowa, in October 2014.

STORM LAKE, Iowa | MidAmerican Energy Co. plans to spend more than a billion dollars to keep two of its older Siouxland-based wind farms and a third farm in the north central part of Iowa current.

The Des Moines-based utility is set to make substantial improvements to the Intrepid Wind Farm in Buena Vista and Sac counties, the Victory Wind Farm in Carroll and Crawford counties, and the Century Wind Farm in Hamilton and Wright counties.

The 160.5 megawatt Intrepid Wind Farm is composed of 106 turbines, went online in December 2004 and was MidAmerican’s first operational wind farm in Iowa.

The smaller Victory Wind Farm went up in 2006, generates 99 megawatts of energy and is made up of 66 turbines.

All three of the older wind farms utilize parts from General Electric and MidAmerican will partner with the conglomerate for the revitalization effort which is already underway.

As part of the repowering, MidAmerican will retrofit the turbines with newer, more efficient components, including longer blades, to extend their lifespan. These changes will increase the amount of clean, safe, affordable and reliable energy serving Iowa customers, according to the company.

“Repowering is an affordable way to increase the efficiency and output of turbines, improving reliability and extending the life of the turbines through the evolution of and advancements in technology,” said Pete McCabe, president and CEO, Onshore Wind, GE Renewable Energy, in a release.

Also in a release, Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, noted the impetus for this project and other planned repowering projects is to help MidAmerican reach its goal of supplying all of its customers' energy needs through renewable means.

“Repowering our older wind turbines brings us closer to achieving that vision in a way that provides both economic and environmental benefits to our customers and the state of Iowa,” he said. “In 2021 when both our repowering and Wind XI projects are complete, we expect to generate renewable energy equal to 95 percent of our Iowa retail customers’ annual use.”

Announced in 2016, Wind XI is a $3.6 billion investment by MidAmerican to generate an additional 2,000 megawatts of wind energy in the state through an additional 1,000 turbines.

So far, Wind XI wind farms are slated for Mahaska County, Poweshiek County and a third farm will be located in both Boone and Greene counties.

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