MidAmerican Energy Plans Iowa Wind Farm

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A massive wind farm of 180 to 200 wind turbines will be built across 200 acres of northern Iowa farm fields, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. announced.

"Today we're here to announce the largest wind facility to be constructed in the world will be built in Iowa," said Greg Abel, company president.

The company's $323 million wind farm will generate 310 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 85,000 homes, he said.

Each wind turbine will produce about 1.5 to 1.65 megawatts of power.

Currently, the world's largest wind facility is located in Washington and Oregon and produces 300 megawatts of electricity, Abel said.

The project will place Iowa third in the nation for wind energy production behind California and Texas.

Gov. Tom Vilsack said the projects fits with his goal for the state to increase renewable energy sources, create jobs and help farmers.

Farmers in northwest and north-central Iowa where the turbines will be located will be paid about $4,000 a year for each turbine, Abel said.

Abel said new technology - today's turbines are 15 times more efficient than those made in the 1980s - has made wind energy more cost effective.

The company's plans call for the first turbines to be operational by the end of 2004 and the project to be completed by 2006.

Source: Associated Press

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