Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) announced last week the signing of a long-term power purchase agreement that commits the state's largest cooperative energy provider to buy the entire output from two new wind farms being constructed near the town of Hawkeye in northeast Iowa and between the towns of Rippey and Grand Junction in central Iowa. The projects will produce a combined 86 megawatts of electricity, which will double the amount of wind energy in CIPCO's generation portfolio when the two wind farms become operational in the fall of 2012.
"Over 95% of CIPCO's electricity is generated in Iowa and with the commitments of the Rippey and Hawkeye facilities, CIPCO's carbon-free and emissions-free resources will be over 50% by 4th quarter 2012," says Dennis Murdock, CEO and executive vice president of CIPCO. "The addition of these two wind farms further enhances our commitment to local energy production and environmental stewardship."
Cooperative utility is ramping up its generation of electricity from wind
The 36-megawatt Hawkeye Wind Farm and 50-megawatt Rippey Wind Farm are being developed by RPM Access LLC (RPMA), an independent wind developer in Iowa. RPMA also developed the Elk Wind Farm near Greeley in Delaware County, which is located in northeast Iowa and became operational earlier this year and is supplying power to CIPCO as well. Both new wind projects—at Hawkeye and Rippey--will use Nordex 2.5-megawatt turbines on 328-foot high towers, the highest wind turbines in Iowa. On-site road and substation construction activities at Hawkeye and Rippey have already begun.
"We are very pleased to further contribute towards new economic development that provides job opportunities to rural communities in Iowa," says Murdock. "And, we are proud to partner with a local developer like RPM Access on another project that is good for rural Iowa and good for our members."
Iowa ranks second in nation in electrical generating capacity from wind
Currently, according to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa's 2,800 wind turbines can pump out 4,375 megawatts at maximum capacity—that's second in the nation behind Texas' 10,000 megawatts and ahead of California's 3,100 megawatts. The state of Iowa, according to legislation passed by the state and signed into law, has a goal to increase its capacity to 20,000 megawatts by the year 2030.
CIPCO and several other companies are doing their part to try to reach that goal. "We added the Elk Wind facility, and it became operational in 2011," says Dusky Terry, CIPCO's director of communications. "Now we're announcing another investment in two additional wind farms and beginning construction near Rippey and near Hawkeye. Not only does this add money to the rural economy in the state, but the electricity generated is used mostly locally in Iowa."
The two new farms at Rippey and Hawkeye should come online next fall and the cooperative plans to buy the entire output of the wind farms at Rippey and Hawkeye. Is electricity that's made in Iowa, really used in Iowa? "It goes on a grid and there's no way of knowing exactly where those electrons travel to," explains Terry. "But it doesn't travel far. Electricity generated from wind is serving many rural communities, farms and households in rural Iowa."
About Central Iowa Power Cooperative: Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative that generates and transmits power to its member owners, which are 13 locally member-owned electric cooperatives and associations, all located within the state of Iowa. CIPCO's members collectively serve a population of more than 320,000 rural and urban Iowans located in 58 of Iowa's 99 counties. This service territory stretches 300 miles diagonally across Iowa and includes or adjoins 12 of Iowa's 17 cities with populations greater than 25,000. CIPCO is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with locations in Wilton, Montpelier, Creston and Des Moines. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.cipco.net.About RPM Access LLC: RPM Access, headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, is an independent developer, owner and operator of wind projects with its main focus on the development of high quality wind farms in the Midwest. Over the last ten years, RPM Access developed and built 530 megawatts of operating wind farms located in Iowa. For more information: www.rpmaccess.com.