MidAmerican Energy is Kicking Up Wind Production

It's the largest economic development project in Iowa history. MidAmerican Energy plans to invest almost $2 billion into the wind energy industry.

"This is truly a win-win for the state of Iowa," says Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

MidAmerican Energy wants to add 656 new wind turbines across Iowa. The proposal is expected to generate 1,050 megawatts. If you add that to the state's current 5,100 installed megawatts - it's the equivalent of taking nearly 16 million cars off the road.

Right now, the state is producing enough energy to take $13 million cars off the road.

The Energy giant says it also plans on paying out $3.2 million a year to farmers who let the company place turbines on their land. An incentive that boosts local economies.

"This is a significant income to the farmers that are able to still farm the ground and rent the land, for these wind turbines and then these counties also get these substantial property tax revenues," says Branstad.

MidAmerican Energy is the top owner of wind generation in the U.S. It currently produces 45% of the wind energy in Iowa and with the expansion that number would jump to 54%.

Right now, the Iowa Wind Energy Association says three-quarters of the state is suitable for wind development.

"If you look at where our current projects are, northwest Iowa a little bit south of I80, those are generally the better wind points," says Bill Gehrman, the CEO and President of MidAmerican Energy.

MidAmerican is still working to decide where the wind turbines will be built.

The state would also see a boost in its economy with $360 million in property taxes during the next 30 years.

Mid American hopes to create 48 new permanent jobs and 460 temporary ones during construction.

The expansion must first be approved by the Iowa Utilities Board.

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