Southeast Iowa will play a key role in the manufacture of the world’s largest order for onshore wind turbines.
Siemens Energy will produce blades for 448 wind turbines at its Fort Madison plant as part of MidAmerican Energy's $1.9 billion wind energy project in five Iowa counties. The wind turbine nacelles will be manufactured at a Siemens plant in Hutchinson, Kan.
The MidAmerican-Siemens Energy connection is expected to create about 1,000 construction jobs during the two-year installation period as well as support about 500 permanent jobs at the Siemens Energy plant in Lee County.
Earlier this year, MidAmerican Energy received approval from the Iowa Utilities Board to install hundreds of wind turbines in Grundy, Madison, Marshall, O’Brien, and Webster counties by the end of 2015.
At a Statehouse news conference, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called the MidAmerican investment “historic” and “the largest economic development project in the history of our state.”
When completed, the MidAmerican wind turbine expansion will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 317,000 average Iowa households. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said about 25 percent of Iowa’s energy portfolio will come from wind production.
“With a total capacity of 1,050 megawatts, this represents not only the largest order ever for onshore wind turbines for Siemens Energy, but also the largest single order for onshore wind power awarded globally to date,” according to a Siemens Energy news release.
Since 2007, Siemens Energy has made and shipped more than 9,000 turbine blades from its Fort Madison facility.
“This gives us a stable base for the next couple of years,” said Mark Albenze, chief executive officer of wind power Americas for Siemens Energy.
The wind turbines, each with a rating of 2.3 megawatts and a rotor diameter of 108 meters, will be installed in five different projects in Iowa. Siemens Energy also will be responsible for service and maintenance of the turbines.
Since 2004, MidAmerican has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa, representing a total investment of about $4 billion and making it the largest rate-regulated utility owner of wind generation in the United States.Des Moines-based MidAmerican is on track to own and operate about 3,335 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa by the end of 2015. The company currently owns and operates about 2,285 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa.