Iowa approves 2GW wind project

The state’s utility board has given the green light to a project that some organisations are calling the largest-ever wind facility in the US.

The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a 2GW wind project that will be the largest in the US when completed.

The utilities board signed off on Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy to develop the Wind XI plant. The 1,000 turbine project will cost around $3.6 billion and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019, the company said in a statement.

Industry organisation American Wind Energy Association and environmental group Sierra Club said this will be the country’s largest wind facility when complete. The project that currently holds that title is the 1.5GW Alta Wind Energy Center in California.

MidAmerican Energy relies on natural gas for the majority of its generation but has set a goal to generate 85 percent of its power from wind.

The Wind XI project will create more than $1.2 billion in property tax payments and landowner easement over the next 40 years, according to the utility. MidAmerican Energy said it does not plan to increase customer rates or seek government financial assistance.

“Wind energy helps us keep prices stable and more affordable for customers, provides jobs and economic benefits for communities and the state, and contributes to a cleaner environment for everyone,” said MidAmerican Energy chief executive Bill Fehrman.

More US utilities are investing in renewables as generation costs have fallen. 

Last Month, Alliant Energy made another investment in Iowa’s wind market, pledging $1 billion to add 500MW of capacity to the Whispering Willow Wind Farm. In June, Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, tapped the European market to issue a €1.1 billion green bond.