MidAmerican Energy gave a tour Wednesday of its new Rolling Hills wind project under construction in southwest Iowa’s Cass County. The project involves the construction of 193 wind turbines generating 444 megawatts of power. Mortenson Construction is of installing the turbines and company vice president, Jerry Grundtner, talked about the progress they’ve made.
He says the roads are almost complete, the foundations are about 50% complete, the turbines about 20% complete, with the completion of the entire project expected by the end of the year. Grundtner says this is one of the biggest projects in North America.
Grundtner says there’s been projects built with cumulative phases bigger than the 444 megawatts, but not one single phase project this big. MidAmerican’s general manager of wind development, Tom Budler, says this project is helping them meet their goal for new wind energy.
He says the two projects they have under construction now total about 593 megawatts of the 1,001 megawatts they’ve been given approval to build by 2012 and they are looking for other opportunities to build more turbines to fill out the number.
Budler says finding the right locations for turbine sites is the problem they face right now. Budler says they are looking for sites all over the state, and the one thing that is hampering them right now is finding sites where they can interconnect to the transmission lines. He says connecting has become very costly and time consuming, so they are looking for areas where they can build and have the ability to connect to transmission lines.
Budler says the other wind projects are under construction in Calhoun, Marshall, and Pocahontas Counties. When the expansion project is completed, MidAmerican Energy will have 1,091 wind turbines in the state of Iowa.
By Nick Johansen, KMA, Sheanandoah