MidAmerican Adds Solar Energy in Journey to Net Zero
MidAmerican Energy is on a mission to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — all while maintaining the reliability our customers require, at a price they can afford and that technological advances support. A major milestone on our road to net zero is delivering 100% renewable energy to our customers through our GreenAdvantage® program.
Including solar energy in our generation portfolio is part of our all-of-the-above approach to meeting that milestone. We recently completed our 100-megawatt Holliday Creek solar array, the largest of six inaugural solar projects that we began placing online at the beginning of the year. At its peak, the Webster County project’s 265,000 solar panels can generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 19,000 average Iowa homes.
We placed our first utility-scale solar array online in January near Iowa City, and we’ve been working at a rapid pace since then, flipping the switch at five more solar sites, including the Holliday Creek project. The six solar energy sites range from 3 MW to 100 MW and are in Adair, Franklin, Johnson, Webster and Woodbury counties, and in the city of Waterloo.
2022 opened a new chapter for us in our growing renewable energy fleet that delivers clean, low-cost, sustainable domestic energy to our customers.
Solar Energy Complements Wind
MidAmerican operates the largest wind energy fleet of any investor-owned utility in the nation. Through our GreenAdvantage program, which applies to all MidAmerican electric customers in Iowa at no additional cost to them, the company enables every customer to claim a verified renewable energy amount, which in 2021, was 88.5%. Starting in 2022, solar energy will be included in that amount and will push us closer to delivering 100%.
The Holliday Creek project was a timely addition to our renewables fleet this summer as solar energy is typically at or near its greatest output when our customers use their air conditioners to keep cool on hot, sunny summer afternoons. When coupled with our wind fleet, MidAmerican’s customers receive the benefits of renewable energy year-round.
Plans for Additional Wind + Solar
MidAmerican’s proposed Wind PRIME project would raise our GreenAdvantage figure to 100% in just a few short years by enabling us to provide renewable energy equal to our Iowa customers’ annual usage by 2025. The project, which is pending before the Iowa Utilities Board, would add more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar energy, at no additional cost to our customers.
Wind PRIME would also create more than 1,100 full-time jobs during the construction phase and another 125 full-time positions for ongoing operations and maintenance. Plus, the project would provide an estimated $24 million per year in local property tax payments on wind turbines and solar facilities and provide more than $21 million per year in landowner easement payments.
Past and future investments are positioning MidAmerican to reach its goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. While thermal generation will remain necessary for the foreseeable future to maintain reliability, Wind PRIME includes a plan to invest in studying and pursuing emerging lower and noncarbon generation technologies.
With the build-out of transmission infrastructure, MidAmerican will also be able to work with stakeholders to accelerate low-carbon transitions and partner with customers to be part of their decarbonization solutions.
Meeting our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal, while we balance your needs for reliable, safe and affordable service, is just another way we are obsessively, relentlessly at your service.
Throughout Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 10-county region, a thriving economic environment is attracting more Investors to do business. Learn more about other recent development projects in the region.