Renewable Advantage Provides Customers an Opportunity to
Bring More Wind Energy to Iowa
For more information, contact:
Ann Thelen, Director of Media Relations, at (515) 281-2785
DES MOINES, Iowa – Dec. 30, 2003 – MidAmerican Energy today announced its new Renewable Advantage program, which allows customers to voluntarily contribute to a fund that will support the development of additional renewable energy in Iowa.
The program is in response to state legislation that requires utilities to offer a voluntary renewable program beginning Jan. 1.
The first renewable energy project funded by the program will be an additional wind turbine located in Iowa. This wind turbine would be in addition to the 310-megawatt wind project already announced by MidAmerican. Future renewable energy projects funded through the program could include solar, biomass and animal waste/methane facilities.
Under the Renewable Advantage program, voluntary contributions from MidAmerican’s customers are collected and placed in a separate interest-earning account. Interest earned on the account becomes part of the program fund. Once customer contributions and interest in the account reach a level approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican Energy will combine the customer contributions with shareholder funds to construct an additional wind turbine in Iowa. MidAmerican expects voluntary customer contributions will fund about 20 percent of the $1.6 million cost of the wind turbine, with MidAmerican shareholders funding the remaining 80 percent. The company hopes to have the additional wind turbine completed in 2005.
“MidAmerican has designed its program to make the most of customers’ voluntary contributions,” said Dean Crist, vice president of regulatory projects. “We believe contributing customers want their funds to be invested in a renewable energy facility that they can see and touch. This program will result in a wind energy facility being built right here in Iowa.”
Beginning in January, customers can contribute to the program in three ways – via a voluntary fixed monthly payment, a one-time contribution or periodic contributions at their discretion. The fixed monthly payment will be added to customers’ bills, while the one-time contribution or periodic contributions can be submitted with any monthly bill. Beginning with bills in January 2004, customers can sign up as Renewable Advantage participants by checking a box on their bill stubs.
“We have made it easy for customers to participate at virtually any level by using a simple check-off on their utility bills,” said Dave Graham, vice president of quality assurance. “Beginning Jan. 1, customers also can sign up on the Web at www.midamericanenergy.com.”
Once enrolled, customers will not need to make any changes to continue participation in the program unless they want to change the amount of their contribution or end their participation. One-time donors and periodic donors can identify their participation preference by noting their intent on their monthly payment. Suggested levels for participation in Renewable Advantage are $2.50 per month for residential customers and $5 per month for business customers. Industrial customers interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact MidAmerican Energy at the phone number listed on their bill stub for further information.
“MidAmerican is pleased to partner with customers, build on momentum created by our proposed 310-megawatt wind project and continue to expand Iowa’s renewable energy capacity,” Graham said. “We encourage all interested customers to participate.”