Iowa wind farm starts generating power

SCHALLER, Iowa, January 19, 2005 (ENS): More than 100 wind turbines began spinning in Iowa as the first phase of MidAmerican Energy’s $323 million wind facility went into service on December 31, 2004.

The 107 wind turbines at the Intrepid Wind Project site, located in Sac and Buena Vista counties in northwest Iowa, will generate 160.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply electricity to some 43,000 homes.

“We’re pleased to reach this milestone of the 310.5 megawatt wind project on time and under budget,” said Tom Budler, MidAmerican Energy’s wind project manager.

“This places MidAmerican more than half way to fulfilling its commitment to help meet Governor [Tom] Vilsack’s goal to have 1,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation in Iowa by 2010.”

The wind project is MidAmerican’s first owned and operated wind generation facility. The company currently purchases 112.5 megawatts from a wind farm near Alta, Iowa.

Infrastructure construction – wind turbine foundations, substation, underground electric line and access roads – for Phase 2, the Century Wind Project, located in Wright and Hamilton counties near Blairsburg in north central Iowa, is on schedule and nearly complete. Turbine erection will begin this spring. When the Century Wind Project is on-line this summer, 100 turbines will generate enough electricity to serve approximately 42,000 homes.

When the wind project is complete, wind, water and biomass will be the source of more than eight percent of MidAmerican’s electric generating capability.

MidAmerican announced plans to build the wind facility in March of 2003 following Governor Vilsack’s challenge to state regulators, business leaders and utility companies to work toward achieving 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy generation in Iowa by 2010. When the wind project is completed, MidAmerican will own or have under contract 439 megawatts of renewable energy.