Golden Plains wind project became fully operational in May 2020. Credit: Business Wire.
The onshore wind farm comprises 81 GE wind turbines. Credit: General Electric.
Golden Plains wind project can supply power to 73,000 households a year. Credit: Pand P Studio / Shutterstock.

Golden Plains wind project is a new 200MW onshore wind farm located in the state of Iowa, US. Developed and constructed by EDF Renewables, the wind farm is owned by Alliant Energy through its subsidiary Interstate Power and Light (IPL).

It was built as part of IPL’s New Wind II project, which also comprises the Upland Prairie wind farm in Clay and Dickinson Counties.

The construction for the Golden Plains wind project began in the first half of 2019. It began commercial operations in March 2020 and became fully operational in May 2020.

Golden Plains wind project is estimated to make landowner lease payments worth more than $44m in the next 30 years. It will also deliver approximately $104m of property tax payments to the region over the next 40 years.

The project generated more than 150 jobs during the construction phase.

Golden Plains wind project development

The Iowa Utilities Board approved the project on the basis of a return on equity of 11% and project life of 40 years.

“Golden Plains wind project is estimated to make landowner lease payments worth more than $44m in the next 30 years.”

IPL signed an asset purchase agreement (APA) with EDF to contract for the acquisition of Golden Plains in December 2017. The contractual scope included land rights for turbine installation, preliminary site layout, environmental studies, permits and design for the construction of the project.

The project assets were acquired by IPL in December 2018, following the closure of the APA.

EDF entered a generator interconnection agreement (GIA) with ITC Midwest and MISO, and a facility construction agreement (FCA) with MidAmerican and MISO in January 2019.

Golden Plains wind project details

The Golden Plains wind project is located in Winnebago and Kossuth counties in north-central Iowa.

The wind project comprises 81 wind turbines, including General Electric’s (GE) 2.5MW and 2.3MW turbine models.

Major components for power transmission include an interconnection substation, two 25MVAr switched capacitor banks, a 50MVAr switched capacitor bank at Midport, a 100MVAr switched capacitor bank at Montezuma and a 150MVAr switched capacitor bank at Blackhawk. Four 161kV transmission lines and a 345kV line are also part of the development.

The power generated from the wind farm is distributed to the energy grid in Iowa, supplying to households in the state.

Golden Plains wind project can produce green energy, which is sufficient to power 73,000 households a year at a cost capped at $1,780 per kW.

GE’s 2MW turbine platform

GE’s 2MW turbine platform is an upwind, horizontal axis wind turbine, featuring three blades with a rotor diameter of either 116m, 127m or 132m.

It operates at variable speed and employs a doubly fed induction generator (DFIG) with a partial power converter system.

The turbine’s onshore platform drivetrain and electrical system architecture enables enhanced performance with higher production of wind turbine energy. It has options for standard and extremely cold weather.

Alliant Energy’s New Wind II project in Iowa

Alliant Energy’s New Wind II project was developed with an estimated investment of $890m.

Golden Plains wind farm is part of Alliant Energy’s aim to increase Iowa’s wind generation by adding 1,299MW by the end of 2020.

The additional capacity will provide renewable energy to 430,000 homes a year. It will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% in Alliant Energy’s service areas in the states of Iowa and Wisconsin by 2030.

Contractors involved in the project

IPL also signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with EDF for the supply of turbines and construction of the balance of plant (BOP) for the wing farm in December 2017.

Black and Veatch acted as the owner’s engineer for the project.