Wind Energy

Wind Energy in O'Brien County
Photo Credit: Loren G. Flaugh           

Highland Wind Energy Project - Invenergy completed the first wind farm in O'Brien County in late 2015. This 500 MW wind farm is called the Highland Wind Energy project and features 218 turbines, each capable of producing 2.3 MW of electricity. The Highland Wind Energy project encompasses 70,000 acres of farmland throughout O'Brien County with each wind turbine and access road typically utilizing less than one acre of land.

MidAmerican Energy
- Invenergy has sold the Highland Wind Energy Project to MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican Energy is constructing a new 345 kV transmission line across O'Brien and Clay County. Their collection facility is being built in Dale Township of O'Brien County.

MidAmerican Energy is also building a Substation in Lincoln Township of O'Brien County to facilitate the new wind energy in coming decades. MISO (Midcontenent Independent System Operator, Inc.) is investing $5.6 billion in 17 projects to build 6,500 miles of power line. Five hundred-twenty miles of new transmission line will be located in Iowa and two of the MISO projects will be sponsored in part by MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican Energy is one of twenty-three public utilities that are members of MISO.

O'Brien Wind Energy Project - Invenergy is working on their second phase, a 250 MW wind farm located in northern O'Brien County named the O'Brien Wind Energy Project. This wind farm will include 104 turbine sites covering 50,000 acres and whose cost could reach $450 million. This project is expected to be completed by December 31, 2016 in order to take advantage of the extended Production Tax Credit.

Rock Island Clean Line Energy (RICL) - RICL plans to build a converter station in Center Township of O'Brien County. This converter station will convert AC to DC and a high voltage direct current (HVDC) wind energy transmission line will be constructed to transmit the energy through O'Brien County, into Clay County and east on to Illinios.

The RICL project will require energy from 1,000 to 2,000 turbines within a 100 mile radius.

Duke Energy - We are watching Duke-American Transmission Company. Duke has plans for seven new transmission line projects in five Midwestern states. Duke Energy and American Transmission Company could begin building in 2018 with one line passing through far eastern O'Brien County. They are planning an AC to DC converter station for Audobon County.

O'Brien County Wind Ordinance
O'Brien County Wind Ordinance Amendment

Renewable Energy - O'Brien County has the land and infrastructure resources needed for wind projects. Our central location will ensure the most efficient transportation and distribution times. Our goal is to promote our attractive incentive packages to attract vendor businesses and to work with our college to develop custom-designed workforce training programs.

State incentives for Renewables and Efficiency can be found by clicking here.

Iowa has done well by taking that first step of a renewable energy requirement, but the wind industry has greater confidence in a Renewable Portfolio Standard. A great explanation of the portfolio can be found by clicking here.