MidAmerican works on largest wind project in the state of Iowa - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

MidAmerican works on largest wind project in the state of Iowa

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Slabs of concrete with rebar circling the top may not be functional just yet, but by 2015, O'Brien County will have 218 wind turbines standing tall on this base.

"It's going to help Iowa's renewable energy future. It's clean energy for the state. It's good for the state. It's good economic development for a state and a lot of people have been excited about the project, as well as us here at MidAmerican Energy," MidAmerican Spokesperson Tina Potthoff said.

MidAmerican said the Highland Wind Project is the largest in Iowa.

"The way we classify it as the biggest is actually in terms of the number of wind turbines that go up as well as the mega watts that it produces, so each of the turbines that go up can produce 2.3 megawatts of energy and looking at the Highland Wind Project, that will equal out to 500 megawatts," Potthoff said.

"This is going to be a major project for O'Brien County. It's going to generate a lot of revenue for the school systems and for the county also," O'Brien County Engineer Tom Snyder said.

Landowner Kathy Miller said she was hesitant at first because she didn't know how it would impact farming, but she is looking forward to the project being complete.

"I wasn't sure if we were going to have to farm around these turbines, but after having them out there, you can farm right up to the turbines. It's exciting watching the progress. That's what we enjoy, watching the progress," Miller said.

Miller said there are also some personal and environmental benefits from being part of the project.

"It is extra income for us, and the environment, it is better for the environment," Miller said.

O'Brien County is just one of several counties MidAmerican will be putting up turbines in the state of Iowa. The company said the Highland Wind Project consists of about half the number of turbines in total, which means landowner payments will be over one-million dollars each year.

MidAmerican plans to continue work on the foundations in 2014 and erect them in 2015.

Along with putting up more than 200 turbines in O'Brien County, MidAmerican is also in the process of finalizing where they will build a substation.

MidAmerican says the substation is an important part of the project.

"The substation is necessary for us to get electricity to the grid and also disperse it properly to customers that are in need of electricity," Potthoff said.

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