FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2016
Contact: David Jakubiak
Clean Energy Advocates Applaud MidAmerican Wind Announcement
ELPC, Iowa Environmental Council Commend MidAmerican Energy Plan for New Wind
DES MOINES – Two of Iowa’s leading environmental policy groups have expressed strong support for a proposal announced by MidAmerican Energy on Thursday that would add 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to Iowa’s energy mix. The proposed project, Wind XI, would be the single largest wind energy project in Iowa to date.
“Wind XI can put Iowa above 40 percent wind energy before 2020, and sets the state on course to reach 10,000 MW of installed wind by 2020,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC). “We applaud this strong showing of clean energy leadership, and welcome the opportunities this proposal presents to strengthen Iowa’s economy, communities and environment.”
MidAmerican will work to finalize project sites, which would be spread across the utility’s service area, while the Iowa Utilities Board considers the project filing request.
“MidAmerican’s announcement reaffirms that wind energy is affordable, reliable, and strengthens our energy independence,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “This project further cements Iowa’s position as a national renewable energy leader, and MidAmerican as a wind energy leader among utilities.”
The recent extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit was as a significant factor in MidAmerican’s timing of this project. By moving quickly to develop wind projects, MidAmerican can capture the full value of this important tax incentive. Both the Council and ELPC supported long-term extensions of the federal PTC.
“This is exactly the kind of wind energy project we hoped would be announced with the extension of the federal PTC,” said Baer.
At the end of 2015, Iowa had 6,212 MW of installed wind, which accounted for 31.3 percent of Iowa’s electricity mix – more than any other state in the country according to data released by the American Wind Energy Association. Iowa is expected to have up to 7,000 MW of wind installed before Wind XI is complete per other wind projects currently under development.
Wind XI will provide significant economic and environmental benefits. Iowa wind energy already provides between 6,000 and 7,000 direct jobs, and supports approximately 75 companies in the wind supply chain. Wind energy also provides over $17M annually in land lease payments to rural landowners, generates significant property tax revenue for counties, and attracts additional business to the state. Wind energy is also the lowest cost new source of electricity generation available in Iowa.