Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy plans $3.9 billion renewables project in Iowa  

Environment

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This image from 2016 shows a wind turbine on property used by MidAmerican Energy’s Eclipse Wind Farm in Adair, Iowa.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy has released details of plans to develop a $3.9 billion project in Iowa that would incorporate both wind and solar power.

In a statement Wednesday, MidAmerican Energy, citing a filing to the Iowa Utilities Board, said the Wind PRIME development “would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation.”

In addition, MidAmerican said it was proposing what it described as “feasibility studies” centered around technologies such as energy storage, small modular nuclear reactors and carbon capture.

If Wind PRIME was granted approval, MidAmerican — which has its headquarters in Des Moines – said it planned to wrap up construction “in late 2024.”

According to the American Clean Power Association, wind was Iowa’s “largest source of electricity generation” in 2020.

The United States is home to a well-developed onshore wind sector. According to the ACP a total of 16,836 MW of utility-scale, land-based wind was installed there in 2020. “The amount of new wind capacity in 2020 is more than three times the amount installed in 2010,” the ACP says.

Offshore wind is a different story. America’s first offshore wind facility, the 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in waters off Rhode Island, only started commercial operations in late 2016.

Change looks to be coming on that front, however. Last March, the Departments of Energy, Interior and Commerce said they wanted to roll out 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by the year 2030.

In Nov. 2021, ground was broken on a project dubbed the United States’ “first commercial scale offshore wind farm.”

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