Iowa's Largest Utility Eyes 100% Renewable Energy Goal
Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy, owned by Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, recently invested $3.6 billion for its 2,000 megawatt Wind XI project, that's hailed as "the largest economic development project in Iowa's history" as well as the nation's largest wind energy project.
The Des Moines Register reports that MidAmerican will install 1,000 wind turbines over the next few years on top of the 2,020 turbines the company has already built around the state.
The feat would bring the utility's share of energy from renewable sources from 55 percent to 89 percent.
"We will be able to virtually serve 89 percent of our customers' needs with an energy resource that requires no fuel," MidAmerican CEO Bill Fehrman told the publication.
The initiative would involve no rate increases for customers—MidAmerican has agreed to freeze rates until at least 2029, and "a lot of that is because of the wind investment," Fehrman said.
"The beauty of wind is there's no fuel costs," he said.
MidAmerican's rates have increased only once since 1998 and are the ninth-lowest nationally, Fehrman said. "There's not another utility in the country—gas, water, cable, electric—that's held rates steady for 12, 13 years."
According to Fehrman, the company's goal is to eventually reach 100 percent renewables, which would require at least another $2 billion and 550 turbines.
"It would set a new precedent for the U.S.," Daniel Shurey, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told the Register. "It will require a company that really knows what it's doing."
"It will be challenging for them to provide security of supply, and that's not something MidAmerican will take lightly," Shurey said.
The Wind XI project, which the Iowa Utilities Board approved in August, is expected to power 800,000 homes once completed by the end of 2019.
Iowa, one of the top U.S. states in wind power generation, already runs on more than one-third wind energy.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.
A coalition of conservation groups and others announced Thursday that a historic number of comments and petitions of support have been submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of Bears Ears National Monument. Despite the entirely inadequate 15-day comment period ending on May 26, more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears National Monument have been collected.
By Lena Moffitt
An oil tanker in Mead, Colorado exploded, killing one and injuring three on Thursday. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.
In an unusual procedural move, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed motions Thursday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the Juliana v. US climate lawsuit, brought by 21 young people. The associations are following the lead of the National Association of Manufacturers, who filed a similar motion to withdraw on May 22.