MidAmerican Energy announcement breathes new life into Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

MidAmerican Energy announcement breathes new life into Iowa wind energy field

Posted:
People looking to get into the wind energy industry are feeling more positive about their job prospects after Wednesday's announcement that MidAmerican Energy plans to spend nearly $2 billion on wind energy generation capacity in Iowa. People looking to get into the wind energy industry are feeling more positive about their job prospects after Wednesday's announcement that MidAmerican Energy plans to spend nearly $2 billion on wind energy generation capacity in Iowa.
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

People looking to get into the wind energy industry are feeling more positive about their job prospects after Wednesday's announcement that MidAmerican Energy plans to spend nearly $2 billion on wind energy generation capacity in Iowa.

Students in the wind energy program at Kirkwood Community College learn pretty much every aspect of wind turbines. It means they're well prepared to hit the job market after they finish here, but recently there haven't been many job openings in Iowa.

Scott Plotz will finish a degree in energy production and distribution technologies at Kirkwood this December. Soon, he'll be looking for a job.

"I'll go wherever the job is," said Plotz.

Recently, the students trained at Kirkwood have had to leave the state in order to find jobs in the wind energy field.

"I have 3,500 job openings that I cannot fill, but they're all over the world," said David Bennett, program director.

Those who want to stay in the state haven't had much luck.

Wednesday's announcement that Mid-American Energy plans to build up to 656 new wind turbines by the end of 2015 was a breath of fresh air for students in the program.

The investment is expected to open 468 construction jobs and 48 permanent jobs.

"They can get into the erection and constructions crew," said Bennett. "They can get into the commissioning crews. They can get into operation and maintenance crews. There's high voltage training that they can get into."

Prospective students like Jeff Frerich were glad to hear the news, which means he may be able to find a job in the career field that interests him.

"I heard there was quite a bit of layoffs, but hopefully in two years when I'm done with the course it will pick back up," said Frerich.

The MidAmerican project isn't a done deal yet, but students like Plotz are just glad to hear the company is trying to breathe new life into the wind energy field.

"It means more to work on," said Plotz.

This spring, there were 44 students in Kirkwood's energy production program. After finishing the two-year program, students receive an associate of applied science degree.

Hawkeye Community College also has an alternative energy program.

MidAmerican currently owns and operates 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa. They're the nation's leader in ownership of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.