From the August 31, 2016 issue of Public Power Daily
By Paul Ciampoli - APPA News Director
The Iowa Utilities Board on Aug. 26 issued an order approving a settlement related to what the IUB said is the largest renewable energy project in the state.
At issue is MidAmerican Energy Company’s proposed Wind XI project, a $3.6 billion proposed project that will allow the investor-owned utility to build up to 2,000 megawatts of new wind electric generation in Iowa.
The Iowa utility regulators said that the utility is eligible for advance ratemaking principles. “The settlement as a whole will reduce MidAmerican’s reliance on fossil-fueled generation and position MidAmerican to meet ongoing and future environmental mandates in a manner that is more likely to benefit its ratepayers,” the IUB said in a news release.
The IUB said that the settlement’s benefits to retail customers will help ensure that the utility’s current and future customers continue to enjoy adequate service and facilities at just and reasonable rates.
In the settlement agreement, the ratemaking principles approved set the cost cap for the Wind XI project at $1.792 million per MW including allowance for funds used during construction.
For the return on equity, the settlement agreement provides an allowed return on the common equity portion of Wind XI that will be included in Iowa electric rate base at 11 percent.
MidAmerican filed its Wind XI request for advanced ratemaking principles with the IUB on April 14 and asked for expedited review to take full advantage of the federal production tax credit.
Alliant Energy also pursuing major wind expansion in Iowa
In July, Alliant Energy said it will invest approximately $1 billion to expand its wind energy operations in Iowa.
Specifically, Alliant Energy said its Iowa utility, Interstate Power and Light, is seeking regulatory approval to expand its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County, Iowa, and possibly develop wind energy in other areas of the state.
The five-year project will be for up to 500 MW.
The company is seeking approval now to maximize the value of renewable energy tax credits to benefit its customers, Alliant Energy said.