(Corning) -- Over the past several months, brand new wind turbines have sprouted up across Adams County.
MidAmerican Energy announces one of its newest wind farms began operating late last week. The Wind IX Adams operation consists of 64 turbines scattered across the county. Ruth Comer is MidAmerican's media relations director. Comer tells KMA News construction of the turbines began last spring.
"Those turbines are located on private property," said Comer, "With lease arrangements with the landowners throughout the county. The total generation capacity for that project is 154.3 megawatts. So, it's a good-sized project. We're very excited to have that completed now, and have that placed in service, and producing clean renewable energy for MidAmerican Energy."
Comer says one of the turbines is noteworthy, in that its tower is made of concrete, rather than steel. She says the concrete tower is part of a pilot project.
"The concrete tower gives the turbine additional stability," said Comer, "so that we could built a taller turbine, and take advantage of winds that are generated at a higher altitude. So, one of the turbines there at Adams--one of the 64--is just about 100 feet taller than the other turbines, because it has a tower built of concrete, rather than steel."
With the Adams County project, Comer says MidAmerican now has wind farms in 22 Iowa counties.
"All together, we have 1,782 turbines currently operating," said Comer. "So, the 64 at Adams are part of that number. And, they're producing almost 3,500 megawatts of wind generation capacity. Right now, that's an amount equal to 42% of MidAmerican's total generation capacity. So, wind is now the largest segment of our portfolio--larger than coal."
Comer says other turbines in southwest Iowa are possible, depending on the interest.
"We only build projects where we're welcomed by the community, and by landowners," she said, "because it's all voluntary on the landowners on whether they want to host a turbine on their land. So, if there are locations where we have landowners and a supportive community, and where the wind resources are right, and we can build there at a cost that's beneficial to our customers, we're certainly going to look at that."
MidAmerican officials say over the next 30 years, the company's wind projects will generate more than $1.5 billion in lease payments to landowners and property tax payments to schools, cities and counties.