MidAmerican Energy to Build Tallest Land-Based Wind Turbine in U.S.

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Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Company is building the tallest land-based wind turbine ever built in the United States.

The new wind farm in Adams County, Iowa, will include a first for the company – a concrete wind turbine tower.

“Advancements in turbine design and construction techniques are opening up new opportunities for development of renewable resources,” Mike Gehringer, vice president, renewable energy, said. “We want to continue to lead in bringing innovative energy solutions to our customers and the state of Iowa.”

Siemens has been hired for the supply and construction of the new concrete tower design.
Gehringer noted that both companies view this tower as a prototype that could serve as the model for other concrete turbine towers at future wind farms and could open up low-to-medium wind resource areas of Iowa for future wind development.

“The process of building a concrete tower is quite different from the process we use to construct turbines with steel towers,” Gehringer said. “Instead of building the tower sections in a factory and transporting them to the site to be fitted together, crews pour the concrete in segments and manufacture the tower onsite.”

Using concrete in place of steel provides the option to install a taller wind turbine that can capture more wind energy. “Generally speaking, the higher the altitude, the greater the wind resource available,” Gehringer said.

The 2.3-megawatt concrete tower turbine at the Adams wind farm will measure 377 feet from ground to hub, compared to 263 feet for most of the turbines in use at other MidAmerican Energy wind farms. With blades extended, the turbine will reach a height of 554 feet, making it about as tall as the Washington Monument.

The concrete turbine is one of 64 wind turbines planned for the Adams wind farm.

Construction is underway on the 154-megawatt project, and all turbines are scheduled to be erected by the end of 2015.

About MidAmerican Energy Company

A wholly-owned unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, MidAmerican Energy Company provides electric service to 746,000 customers and natural gas service to 726,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

© 2015 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.