MidAmerican Energy Betting Big on Wind in Iowa

Iowa, which receives more power already from wind than any other state in the U.S., will become even more reliant on the source of electricity under a new plan for $3.6 billion announced on Thursday by MidAmerican Energy owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

The energy company said on Thursday that it is going to build up to as much as 2,000 more megawatts of wind turbines as it set a goal of generating a minimum of 85% of all its power from the wind.

The Des Moines, Iowa based company will use tax credits for renewable-energy that Congress extended in December of 2015 to make the projects feasible economically, said CEO at MidAmerican Bill Fehrman.

Thanks to the tax credits as well as the ability of the company to deliver these types of projects at low cost, we are setting up customers for a future that will be low carbon.

In Iowa, 31% of the power is now being generated from wind, which is more than in any other U.S. state, according to the industry group American Wind Energy Association.

MidAmerican’s latest project would increase the wind’s share to over 40% said state officials.

Iowa, in absolute terms, is the No. 2 producer of wind power, with over 6,200 megawatts of turbines, behind only Texas said the industry group.

MidAmerican is the largest producers of wind power among regulated utilities across the nation. The company is already operating over 3,500 megawatts in the state or equal to 58% of the overall power it supplies customers.

Berkshire Hathaway the parent company is the third largest owner of wind farms in the country behind Iberdola SA and NextEra Energy.

Plants that are coal-fired remain the leading electricity source in Iowa, providing over 53% of all the state’s power during 2015, while natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power generators produced close to 16% of the energy.

The wind industry has become an important part of the economy in Iowa, said Terry Branstad its Republican Governor. The equipment makers for wind power employ over 7,000 people across the state and thousands more technical and construction jobs have been created due to new wind farms being built.