A plan announced on May 30 by MidAmerican Energy for another $922 million investment in wind turbines with the capacity to produce an additional 591 megawatts of power provides fresh evidence of Iowa's strength as a national leader in clean, renewable energy.
If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the project will be completed by 2020 and allow MidAmerican Energy to reach its goal of generating renewable energy equal to 100 percent of residential and business customer usage on an annual basis, according to the company.
By comparison, wind produced zero percent and coal produced 70 percent of MidAmerican's generation capacity in 2004.
“Iowans are used to leading the way," Gov. Kim Reynolds said. "We believe to our core that it is our responsibility to use the resources we are given in the best way possible. It’s that sustainable approach that has led Iowa to achieve the highest percentage of power generation coming from wind energy, more than any other state. And, it doesn’t hurt that we have a company like MidAmerican Energy that has taken the long view and is forward-looking in its goal to provide sustainable and affordable energy to its customers.”
According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa in 2017 ranked first in the nation for share of electricity provided by wind energy (36.9 percent) and third in the nation for installed wind capacity (more than 7,300 megawatts).
As we have said before, the wind industry is, from any perspective, a winner for our state. In addition to supporting, directly and indirectly, some 8,000 jobs, the thousands of wind turbines dotting Iowa's landscape help keep electric rates stable for utility customers, put more money in the pockets of farmers and other rural landowners in the form of lease payments, create export potential and increase property tax revenue. Plus, it's friendly to our environment.
We join the Reynolds administration in praise for MidAmerican's commitment to green energy, its investments in the economic future of our state and its contributions to a more energy-independent nation.