The state’s largest energy company announced plans today to build a couple of new electric plants worth about one-point-five-billion dollars.The announcement by MidAmerican president Greg Abel comes one week after the Governor signed a bill into a law making it easier to build power plants in Iowa. Abel says the bill was a major factor in the company deciding to move ahead with its plans. The first plant will be built in the Des Moines suburb of Pleasant Hill. Abel says they’re already pursuing the permits to build the plant which will be fueled by natural gas and produce 950 megawatts of electricity. The second plant will be coal powered, and plans for its construction are not yet set. Abel says the construction of the new plants is important in maintaining Iowa’s electricity supply.The first new plant will employ 24 people. Construction is expected to begin next spring. The announcement today of MidAmerican’s plans to build two new power plants comes on the heals of a price agreement with the state. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says that agreement will freeze MidAmerican’s electric rates for five years. Miller says that will ensure the company’s rates will have stayed the same for nine years.Miller says there’s another benefit to the agreement, as customers won’t have to pay “fuel adjustment” costs connected to the plant. Those costs come when the price of natural gas or coal used to fuel the plants goes up.The settlement ends a legal rate case brought by the Office of Consumer Advocate and MidAmerican Energy that was pending before the Iowa Utilities Board.
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