Friday, May 22, 2009

Companies spar over Iowa wind energy surplus (BRK.A; FPL)

Next Era is the former FPL Energy division of FPL Group. MidAmerican is a division of Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy Holdings.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Iowa is producing so much wind energy that companies are competing to sell the surplus.

MidAmerican Energy, which has 1,300 megawatts of wind energy capacity in Iowa, has filed a request with state regulators to approve more than 1,000 megawatts of wind generation at undisclosed sites in the state.

But NextEra Energy Resources of Jupiter, Fla., has filed an objection with the Iowa Utilities Board. The company wants to add to its 600 megawatts of wind generating capacity in Iowa.

NextEra generates and sells electricity, primarily to Alliant Energy. It doesn't provide service to homes and businesses.
NextEra says in its petition that Iowa has plenty of wind power and that the company can produce much of what the state needs at a competitive price.

"We are filing an intervention in this case because we want MidAmerican's customers to have the best power at the best price, and we think we can provide it," said Steve Stengel, NextEra spokesman.

The Des Moines-based MidAmerican wants the utility board to approve its request by May 29 so it can take advantage of a suruplus of inexpensive wind turnbines. That won't happen because the utilities board has scheduled a public hearing on the proposalfor June 22.

The board must act on MidAmerican's request by January.

The dispute is over who gets to sell a growing -- and potentially profitable -- surplus of wind energy that Iowa is expected to produce in the coming decades....MORE
Here's how MidAmerican's hometown paper, the Des Moines Register, covers the utility:
When MidAmerican Energy announced it would join the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator effective Sept. 1, the news didn't have the same impact on the public as if, say, Notre Dame had joined the Big Ten Conference.

MidAmerican's 770,000 customers in Iowa won't see a change on their bills, and the Des Moines utility promises that electric service will still be dependable.

But within the world of electric utility generators, transmission systems and wholesale power dealers, long-independent MidAmerican's move to join the Midwest transmission grid, commonly known as MISO, is a sign that utility plans to be a major force in wind energy....MORE