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Wind PRIME would allow company to maintain 100% level as businesses and communities grow
DES MOINES, Iowa – (Sept. 25, 2023) – MidAmerican Energy reached a new milestone – delivering 100% renewable energy to serve its Iowa customers’ electricity usage last year. In 2022, MidAmerican’s wind fleet generated more than 27,000 gigawatt-hours over the 12-month period, exceeding the total annual usage of the company’s Iowa customers.
The achievement was possible thanks to a record-setting wind resource in 2022 and MidAmerican’s decades-long commitment to investing in renewable energy on behalf of its customers. MidAmerican’s first wind farm became operational in 2004. Today, the wind fleet is comprised of more than 3,400 wind turbines at more than three-dozen wind farms across Iowa.
“It’s incredible to see the enormous amount of electricity that we’re now able to generate using renewable resources like wind and solar,” Mike Fehr, MidAmerican senior vice president of renewable generation and compliance, said. “Not only was it an extraordinary year for Iowa wind speeds, which continually exceeded predictions, but with high natural gas prices in 2022, it couldn’t have come at a better time for our customers.”
In addition to generating clean energy, wind is a zero-cost fuel that keeps MidAmerican’s current and future rates low. Earlier this year, MidAmerican customers realized lower electric costs thanks to wind generation in 2022. Overall, MidAmerican’s Iowa customers have the fifth lowest rates in the country among investor-owned utilities, and rates that are 39% below the national average.
MidAmerican has a diversified portfolio of resources, including wind, solar and thermal assets, which is the key to providing the reliability, affordability and sustainability that customers expect. Renewable resources allow MidAmerican to use thermal resources less and only when they are needed during periods of lower renewable generation production. A balanced portfolio means customers won’t pay higher prices when any one fuel cost goes up.
“Reaching the milestone of 100% renewable energy to serve our Iowa customers is just the beginning,” Fehr continued. “We continue to invest in new renewable assets to deliver our energy needs, including Wind PRIME, and we look to new carbon-free assets that will further diversify our fleet.”
Wind PRIME project would add 2,042 MW of wind energy
Wind PRIME continues through the regulatory process with the Iowa Utilities Board. In August, MidAmerican, the Office of Consumer Advocate and environmental intervenors agreed to terms in the Wind PRIME docket, maintaining key customer benefits that have been proposed. The regulatory process will continue, culminating with a rehearing in October. The board is expected to make a final decision on Wind PRIME by December.
The additional 2,042 megawatts of renewable generation proposed in Wind PRIME is necessary to serve the growing customer base in Iowa and maintain 100% renewable coverage. Low energy costs and renewable energy coverage have been key to attracting and retaining businesses in Iowa. As companies continue to grow in Iowa, MidAmerican will need to add renewable generation to serve those needs and to support the state’s growing communities.
GreenAdvantage program reaches 100% for 2022
MidAmerican filed the figures Friday as part of a request to the Iowa Utilities Board to verify the 100% renewable energy milestone through the company’s GreenAdvantage program. The program passes on sustainability benefits to all MidAmerican customers in Iowa at no additional cost.
Through GreenAdvantage, MidAmerican retires renewable energy certificates associated with the renewable energy MidAmerican generates on behalf of customers, instead of selling them on the market. By retiring the RECs, MidAmerican enables its customers to claim the renewable energy attributes so they can advance their own sustainability goals.
"We are extremely pleased MidAmerican reached its 100% renewable milestone for 2022. It is a remarkable achievement," Sean Keenan, vice president of supply chain at SSAB Americas, located in Montpelier, said. "MidAmerican’s commitment to investing in renewable generation is great news for SSAB, as we are manufacturing the world's most sustainable steel products here in Iowa. MidAmerican’s unique performance provides an excellent starting point for additional renewable generation into the Iowa energy supply chain for all MidAmerican’s customers in Iowa.
“SSAB believes the proposed Wind Prime project will be instrumental in meeting our continued demand for long-term supply of 100% renewable electricity, for encouraging economic growth in Iowa, and for supporting increased green electricity consumption.”
Wind energy benefits go beyond environmental
Wind energy not only generates clean power but also provides additional benefits to MidAmerican customers:
  • Wind mitigates volatile fuel prices and delivers long-term affordability benefits to customers: In 2022, higher-than-expected winds boosted wind energy output at a time when wholesale electricity market prices were higher due to high natural gas prices. Not only did strong wind generation bring costs down for MidAmerican customers this summer, but it also reduces the need for future rate increases. In 2022, thanks to robust wind generation, MidAmerican credited $314 million back to customers to pay down the rate base. Through this unique regulatory agreement, MidAmerican has credited over $900m back to customers since 1997.
  • Energy diversity can lessen need for other sources: Wind energy resources, when available, can reduce the need to turn to other sources to generate electricity. There are no fuel costs for wind energy.
  • Wind energy can assist regional grid when challenged: Wind energy was critical to delivering reliable service during times of high demand in 2022. It insulated customers from what impacted other utilities around the country, including controlled outages and volatile market prices, which were due to then-higher natural gas generation fuel costs.
  • Wind energy has been good for Iowa: Iowa is a national leader in generating clean, renewable energy, which has created a competitive and economic advantage for new and existing customers alike. In addition, property tax revenue and landowner lease payments generated from wind energy support rural communities and farmers.
Region experienced record winds in 2022
While MidAmerican delivered 100% renewable energy to serve its Iowa customers’ electricity usage in 2022, the company is unlikely to replicate it without adding additional resources to harness the wind, according to National Weather Service data. The weather service reports that, in 2022, the region experienced record average wind speeds beginning early in the year.
“It (2022) was likely the windiest April, and start to the year through April 30th for that matter, on record across the area since *at least* the mid to late 1990s based on average wind speed,” the agency posted.
About MidAmerican Energy
MidAmerican Energy, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves 813,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 789,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at and company social media channels.