Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, will develop a new wind farm site in Adams County, Iowa, and expand a second site in O’Brien County, Iowa, in 2015.
The $280 million project will include the installation of up to 67 wind turbines and will add up to 162 megawatts of additional wind generation capacity in Iowa.
The new project comes just 16 months after MidAmerican Energy launched a $1.9 billion investment to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation in Iowa by year-end 2015.
A Leader in Wind-Generated Power
MidAmerican Energy first began installing wind turbines in 2004, and is first among U.S. rate-regulated utility in wind-powered generation capacity.
The aggressive strategy has MidAmerican Energy on track to reach 3,500 megawatts of wind generation capability in Iowa by the end of 2015.
William J. Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, stated that “With this proposed expansion, beginning in 2016, MidAmerican Energy’s wind resources are expected to produce an amount of energy equivalent to approximately 50 percent of the retail energy customers are expected to need.”
MidAmerican Energy’s goal is to provide renewable energy for the equivalent of approximately 1.05 million average Iowa households.
Wind’s Growing Role in Meeting Energy Needs
Wind energy is playing an increasing role in the US’s energy needs with a total installed wind capacity in the U.S. of 61,327 megawatts through first quarter of 2014. Total wind generated energy is enough to power 15.5 million homes.
On the commercial side, wind energy has found demand from companies such as Google, which in April 2014, signed an agreement with MidAmerican Energy to supply Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with up to 407 megawatts of wind-sourced energy.
As the cost of wind energy continues to drop, consideration also needs to be given to “hidden costs” inherent in other forms of energy production. The National Research Council identified these costs and noted that “pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels have effects on human health, grain crops, timber yields, building materials, recreation, and outdoor vistas.”
These hidden cost costs are often overlooked when calculating the cost of power generation, and make wind power all the more attractive.
© 2014 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.