Iowa is currently a state with high potential for wind power capacity. Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. is gearing up to drop $1.9 billion on new wind farms in Iowa. The investment might build as many as 656 new turbines by 2015, which would add as much as 1,050 megawatts of wind power capacity to the 2,285 megawatts the company already operates in the state. The project could also herald a revival in American wind power in general. The anticipated expiration of the production tax credit for wind energy drove a spike in installations in 2012, then a lull into 2013, and now finally an anticipated ramp up that the credit was extended for another year by the fiscal cliff deal. This new extension only requires projects to start construction by the end of the year to qualify, therefore GE now expects the full force of the revival to hit in 2014.
Also coming down the pike for wind power is the new version of GE’s Brilliant — a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, featuring new smart systems and accompanying storage capacity. Brilliant can take in weather forecast data, grid system information, and supply and demand patterns with both its own sensors and access to the internet. Combined with a new height and an increase of rotor length to 120 meters, these changes boost the new Brilliant’s efficiency by 25 percent over the last model. The batteries will also store access power generated by the turbines, then distribute the power during off hours, thus avoiding many reliability issues that come along with wind. Overall, this would continue the roll wind power has already been on in the U.S. since 2012, when we saw the installation of wind capacity outpace all other forms of energy production.
Source: 2014 Looking To Be A 7,000 Megawatt Year For Wind Power Capacity And Innovation, by Jeff Spross, May 12, 2013