With nine days to spare, Iowa’s largest utility has met its deadline for getting a new wind farm on-line before the end of the year. The Victory Wind Project in western Iowa’s Carroll and Crawford counties is fully operational now, according to MidAmerican Energy spokesman Mark Reinders. He says the 66-turbine wind farm has been under construction for most of this year.
Reinders says “Wind offers a lot of benefits in terms of better for the environment as it does not put out any emissions. Unfortunately, wind doesn’t always blow so you always have to have some backup power, which is where we use the coal plants and the natural gas plants. It’s just a nice complement to our existing generation portfolio.”
It’s hard to miss the wind farm. The 66 towers are each about 200-feet tall and sit a quarter-mile to a half-mile apart. Each tower holds a three-blade propeller and each blade is 115-feet long. Reinders says with the Victory Wind Project going on-line, electric rates will neither increase nor decrease — the goal is to keep rates steady.
Reinders says “It absolutely will not impact the electric rates at all. We’ve had the rate freeze since 1995 and that’s going to continue until at least 2010, so you’re talking almost 15 years there without any electric rate increase which is great news for our customers.”
The new wind farm will generate 99-megawatts of power, which Reinders puts in other terms. He says that’s enough to power about 40-thousand homes and takes MidAmerican to almost 500-megawatts total generated by wind, making it the largest company in the U.S. for owned-and-operated wind generation. The company started building wind farms in 2004 and last year finished two others in Iowa that generate 50 and 310-megawatts.