Record-breaking wind farm being built in O'Brien County, IA - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Record-breaking wind farm being built in O'Brien County, IA


When you hear the word "Farm," what do you picture? Crops... cattle... a farmer?

Well in O'Brien County, Iowa, there's a different kind of farm and it's using wind to produce energy

"Convert the wind energy into electricity and then it all goes through wires into a substation and then enters the grid system," says O'Brien Co. Engineer Tom Snyder.

Which basically means it will power the homes of people who use MidAmerican as their energy source.

The company broke ground on the project in 2013.

They're calling it the Highland Wind Farm and it's one of the largest land-based wind farms currently under construction in the nation with 214 wind turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

"Well, we have a lot of wind here and there is a transmission line that runs through the county, which gives them access to the grid," says Snyder.

The Highland Wind Farm isn't quite complete yet, MidAmerican says only 73 of the 214 wind turbines are up and running, but the number continues to rise as construction moves forward.

"The construction is quite a process," says Snyder. "Bringing in all the components and the trucks coming in and the big cranes, and there's a lot of construction workers out on the site. It's a monstrous project."

Once it's finished, the energy company says it's expected to generate up to 500 megawatts, which is enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes.

MidAmerican officials say they hope to have the Highland Wind Farm completed by the end of this year.

O'Brien County engineer, Tom Snyder, estimates that the wind farm will bring in about 20 new positions once all 214 turbines are up and running.

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