“Buy local” is the mantra for the season, and MidAmerican Energy is coming through big time.

The nation’s leading wind power utility committed to buying 448 turbines from Siemens Energy Inc.’s Fort Madison Plant, further elevating Iowa as our nation’s wind energy leader.

MidAmerican announced earlier this year plans to invest $1.9 billion in Iowa wind energy. Its decision to buy local shares that wealth with an Iowa-based firm hiring workers who mostly live and shop – guess where?

With targeted state and federal incentives, Iowa’s last three governors have acted to make their state an epicenter of wind power development and manufacturing. We’ve seen the results. Freight trains and barges are moving Iowa-made blades across the country. Now, Siemens will be shipping these mega-blades across Iowa to be erected on towers that are generating cash for Iowa landowners and power for ratepayers beyond the state.

That’s why we support continued efforts to bring the Rock Island Clean Line across the state through fair and public land negotiations -- not eminent domain seizures. We’re eager to see Iowa become a state that exports wind energy, turbine technology, parts and engineering nationwide. Siemens and Iowa’s other wind energy firms enjoyed state incentives that aided the startup. MidAmerican’s local contract fortifies a manufacturing base ready and willing to equip the entire Midwest.

"This gives us a stable base for the next couple of years," said Mark Albenze, an executive for Siemens Energy Inc., which has produced more than 9,000 turbine blades since 2007 at its Fort Madison facility.

Earlier this year, MidAmerican explored expanding nuclear energy in Iowa. This week, we learn the company is staking billions on Iowa wind and the state’s manufacturing capability and workforce. All energy plans present concerns that must be managed. We strongly support wind energy as a sustainable addition to Iowa’s diverse energy economy, growing to serve the entire nation, not just Iowa.

(1) comment


So we take money from the taxpayer (and the energy consumer) and we give it to MidAmerican and a company that builds windmill blades? Perhaps a small percentage of Iowans may benefit from the jobs, but the majority will pay higher utility bills and taxes to get them. And when the tax credits expire the cost of that non-storable energy will go even higher. The windmills will deteriorate and then the taxpayer and consumer will get hit again with the cost of cleaning up the mess and tearing out the massive concrete bases when they have to be removed. It is all a fools quest.

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