The turbines began operating in Pocahontas, Wright and Hamilton counties, bringing MidAmerican's Iowa total to 466. The Des Moines-based utility announced that it had activated the turbines at the Pomeroy Wind Project in Pocahontas County and the Century Project Expansion near Blairsburg.
By the end of 2008, MidAmerican expects to have another 260 wind turbines operating in Iowa, bringing the total to 726. They will be capable of supplying power to about 390,000 average homes. MidAmerican began building wind projects in 2004. The company operates more wind generation than any other regulated utility in the United States.
In addition to the turbines, MidAmerican is investing $400 million between 2004 and 2009 on environmental upgrades to reduce emissions at its fossil-fuel burning power plants. The work will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 44 percent, sulfur dioxide by 38 percent and mercury by 35 percent.
President Bill Fehrman acknowledged the company's role in fighting climate change.
"Global climate change is a complex issue, and there are many factors over which the company has no control; however, we will continue to take responsible actions that help us do our part to economically move toward a lower-carbon society in our country," he said in a statement.
About 25 percent of the electricity produced by MidAmerican will come from non-carbon resources at the end of 2008. Officials said the company's unit price of electricity is now lower than it was in 1994, and it has pledged to keep electric rates stable until at least 2014.
Iowa has more wind generation capacity than all except three other states, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind developers added 337 megawatts of generating capacity in Iowa last year, bringing the total to 1,273 megawatts from 936 at the end of 2006, the association said.
The Pomeroy project developed for MidAmerican by enXco was the largest wind project developed in the state last year, the group said.