A state utility board has approved a $3.6 billion wind energy project believed to be the biggest such initiative ever undertaken in the United States.
The Iowa Utilities Board gave its blessing to the project shortly before the labor Day holiday.
Project developer MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said the massive wind farm currently known as Wind XI, will be comprised of 1,000 turbines and generate 2,000 MW of electricity -- enough to power 800,000 customers.
“This is an exciting day for our customers, the state of Iowa and MidAmerican Energy,” said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy.
“We thank the board for its support and for moving quickly to deliver this ruling,” Fehrman said
MidAmerican Energy announced plans for Wind XI in April 2016. Now that the Iowa Utilities Board has approved the project, the company is finalizing plans to begin construction with completion expected by the end of 2019.
Wind XI will consist of multiple sites across Iowa, which are still being finalized. The wind sites will be placed into service over a three-year period, with the first sites being placed into service in 2017. The last sites will be placed into service in 2019.
“Wind energy helps us keep prices stable and more affordable for customers, provides jobs and economic benefits for communities and the state, and contributes to a cleaner environment for everyone,” Fehrman said.
The Wind XI project will generate more than $1.2 billion in landowner easement and property tax payments over the next 40 years.
Additionally, during construction, it is expected that thousands of jobs will be added to Iowa’s economy and hundreds of new permanent jobs will be added when the expansion is complete, the company said.