By Sara Avalos
MidAmerican plans to have 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2020.
MidAmerican first announced their plan to produce 100 percent renewable energy back in 2016. In May, they announced and filed an application to the Iowa Utilities Board to approve their Wind XII Project.
Wind XII is MidAmerican’s 12th wind project. This project aims to make the state more sustainable.
“It’s really a one-two punch of clean energy and low rates,” Adam Wright, CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said in a May 30 news conference.
Wright said wind power was the best way to make more sustainable energy future while keeping rates low.
“With wind, we don’t need to buy fuel to make the energy. This is big reason why MidAmerican’s rates are 37 percent lower than the national average,” Wright said at the conference.
MidAmerican plans to invest $922 million into this project. By the end of this, MidAmerican will have also invested $12.3 billion into the economy by creating jobs.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said at the conference that this project will produce a lot of economic growth, will produce many constructions related jobs as well as many permanent jobs.
“In the last decade or so, an entirely new industry dedicated to wind energy was cropped up in Iowa and it’s the fastest growing in the country,” Reynolds said.
She said Iowa has been one of the leading states in wind energy and with MidAmerican doing this, it will put Iowa on top. Wind power energy supports over 7,000 jobs in Iowa.
“Our state has been looking forward to and planning to an announcement like this for a long time,” Reynolds said.
Tyler Priest, a history and geography professor at the University of Iowa, said wind energy is cost-competitive and can save MidAmerican money.
Priest said when companies use wind energy they get tax credits and other incentives.
“For every one kilowatt of wind energy that you use, you get 2.5 cents in tax credits,” Priest said.
He said MidAmerican has already been using some wind energy for some time, but this is the first time the company will try make it 100 percent wind energy.
“This will shift away from polluting and make it more sustainable,” Priest said.
Although this sounds ideal, Priest said there would have to still have to be other sources of energy.
“Wind stops blowing sometimes. You still need back up energy and power like coal,” Priest said.
Wright said last year half of MidAmerican’s energy came from wind power and the other half came from other resources that they have. With the new Wind XII project, they are going to shift away from those other sources and mainly use wind energy.
“By the time we get to 2019, 2020, we should be above 90 percent from wind and the rest will be coming from the other resources that we have,” Wright said.