August 29, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2016
Environmental Groups Commend Approval of Nation’s Largest Wind Project
Wind XI Extends Iowa’s National Clean Energy Lead
The Iowa Environmental Council joined the Environmental Law & Policy Center on Monday in commending the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for approving Wind XI, a 2,000 MW wind energy proposal announced by MidAmerican Energy this April.
“We applaud MidAmerican for its continued wind energy leadership, and commend the IUB for issuing the approval order a full month before MidAmerican’s requested decision date,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director with the Council. “The early approval helps ensure MidAmerican can take full advantage of the recently extended federal wind production tax credit – a policy we support.”
According to the utility, once completed, Wind XI will be the largest wind energy project in the US, powering approximately 800,000 homes.
“The economic, environmental and community benefits derived from wind energy are clear and compelling in Iowa,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We look forward to working with MidAmerican and the Utilities Board to help the state fully realize those benefits as the project gets underway, and to helping advance other wind, solar and energy efficiency projects that will accelerate Iowa’s transition to clean energy.”
Wind XI is slated for completion by the end of 2019, and will increase the amount of installed wind in Iowa – 6,212 MW at the end of 2015 according to the American Wind Energy Association – by nearly one-third. This project, along with other wind energy projects currently under construction and development, will be a significant boon to Iowa wind energy economy.
The groups have indicated strong support for the project, jointly intervened in the Wind XI docket, reviewed hundreds of pages of filings, and submitted testimony in support of MidAmerican’s proposal.
Wind XI and other significant clean energy projects currently before the IUB for consideration – including a 500 MW project proposal announced by Alliant Energy last month – position Iowa to reach several key clean energy milestones. Wind XI puts Iowa on a path to exceed 40% wind energy and 10,000 MW of installed wind by 2020. According to several Department of Energy studies, Iowa could reach 20,000 MW by 2030.
Wind energy currently provides more than $17 million in land lease payments to landowners annually, supports between 6,000 and 7,000 jobs in Iowa, and is a leading source of property taxes in counties with significant wind development. Wind is also a low cost energy resource and one of Iowa’s leading options for cleaner air.
Both MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy’s announcements position the utilities to comply with the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon pollution 32 percent nation-wide by 2030. Our analysis indicates that continued energy efficiency programs along with wind additions ranging from 1,500 MW to 2,500 MW will be enough for Iowa to meet its modest carbon pollution reduction target by 2030.