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Wind Energy Infighting Surfaces in David Vs. Goliath Struggle in Iowa

In a new twist on opposition to wind farm development, the sector is now experiencing infighting, with the largest owner of wind farms in the U.S. challenging a recent state decision that aids another company.

Now, instead of fighting environmentalists or NIMBYs (not in my backyard types), MidAmerican Energy must face off against electricity giant NextEra Energy, which in addition to nuclear plants owns and operates 65 wind projects in 16 states, reports istockanalyst, via the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

NextEra, which is based in Florida, has filed a lawsuit seeking a reversal of the Iowa Utilities Board decision that paved the way for MidAmerican to build up to 1,001 megawatts in wind energy, reports the Des Moines Register.

MidAmerican already has 1,350 MW of wind capacity in Iowa, compared to NextEra’s 640 MW there.

Overall, NextEra, a subsidiary of Florida Power & Light, is the largest owner of wind turbines in the U.S., with more than 6,600 MW of capacity.

NextEra maintains that MidAmerican’s newest project will be an unfair benefit in that it could become a platform for a transmission line from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa into Chicago and other energy hungry cities.

NextEra says that the Iowa ruling gives MidAmerican too much market control.

MidAmerican’s new project will be put in place through 2012.

The Iowa Utilities Board has required MidAmerican to file compliance reports as its investment surpasses 750 MW of new wind generation. The reports must show a market need for the power in Iowa and surrounding states.