MidAmerican celebrates progress on wind turbine project - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

MidAmerican celebrates progress on wind turbine project

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A major wind turbine project is making headway in Eastern Iowa, and it means big money for Grundy county.

Thursday, MidAmerican celebrated their progress in Wellsburg. Just a few miles out of town, 34 of the 60 eventual wind turbines have been completed. Together, they'll power about 40,000 homes.

The turbines are all part of a $1.9 billion investment announced by MidAmerican last year, which remains the largest economic development project in Iowa.

Out in the field, turbines loom motionless on the horizon.

“I like them,” said Evelyn Haupt. “I think they're majestic.”

Haupt is a fan, and not just because of the green energy — she's got three of the turbines installed on her farmland. That means a good-sized payment for land usage.

“It's a nice little 401k,” she laughed. “That's what my husband said, ‘this is going to be our 401k.'”

Project-wide, the company pays $3 million annually to landowners.

Haupt also enjoyed MidAmerican's tour, which took her inside the base of a turbine.

“It was very interesting to see inside,” she said. “Someone asked me the other day, how do they get up there? I wasn't really sure. Now I know. They climb.”

Adam Jablonski coordinates MidAmerican's wind operations. He led the tour.

“So there's a generator up at the top, and these are all the power cables coming down,” he said, pointing up the inside of the machine.

The blades on the turbines are 173 feet long, and dwarfed workers on the ground. One man was pressure-washing blades before they were hoisted to the top.

Jablonksi said the completed project will bring in about $12 million in property taxes for Grundy county over the first 10 years.

The Wellsburg field is part of a larger wind project in Iowa. Once completed, MidAmerican officials said nearly 40% of their generated power will come from wind.

The Grundy project is slated for completed in December of 2015.

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