Iowa to extend wind power lead as Invenergy plans 400 MW
- Invenergy will develop a pair of wind farms in Iowa, each capable of generating 200 MW, with construction slated to begin next year, according to Iowa Radio.
- The new projects by the Chicago-based developer in the northwest corner of the state are expected to be online by early 2020 and include more than 80 wind turbines at each location.
- Iowa generates more of its power from wind resources than any other state in the U.S. and more projects are coming. Last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said wind provided 37% of the state's generation. Despite the high penetration of wind generation, coal remains the dominant generating source in the state.
The price of wind energy continues to drop — it is now the cheapest new source of energy in the country and will remain the cheapest for at least a couple of years before the federal production tax credit (PTC) phases out, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Both Iowa projects' timely arrival will allow them to take full advantage of the PTC.
Installations are expected to rise over the next couple of years and Invenergy is expanding its resources in Iowa. One project will be located in Sac County and another in Ida County, where the company already operates a wind farm.
According to LBNL's report, the three-year outlook is solid for the wind industry: the national lab expects wind installations of 8 GW this year, reaching 10-13 GW by 2020.
After 2021, however, analysts expect a downturn as the value of the PTC declines.
In early August, Invenergy announced it would ink a 100 MW virtual power purchase agreement with Novartis to support the Santa Rita East wind farm in Texas.
Earlier this year Iowa regulators authorized Alliant Energy to add 500 MW of wind energy in the state. Combined with its existing portfolio of wind farms and wind power purchase agreements, Alliant says about one-third of its capacity in Iowa will be derived from wind power by 2020.
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