MGE wind turbines

Madison Gas & Electric won state Public Service Commission approval Thursday to build a wind farm in northeastern Iowa, about 200 miles west of Madison. The 33 turbines will be nearly 500 feet tall, about 100 feet higher than those in MGE's Top of Iowa wind farm in north-central Iowa, shown above, erected in 2008.

MGE

Madison Gas & Electric has the green light from state regulators to build a wind farm in northeastern Iowa in 2018 to serve its customers.

It is one of several wind projects on the drawing board, in the works, or recently completed, statewide.

MGE’s Saratoga wind farm is a $107 million project to be built near Saratoga, Iowa, about 200 miles west of Madison. It won unanimous approval from the three-member state Public Service Commission on Thursday.

“MGE is committed to increasing renewable energy and driving carbon out of our energy supply mix,” said president and CEO Jeff Keebler.

MGE’s new project involves erecting 33 wind turbines, each nearly 500 feet tall, able to produce a combined total of up to 66 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 47,000 homes during peak wind conditions, the utility said.

Construction is expected to start in spring 2018 and the Saratoga wind farm is expected to be operating by the end of 2018. It will be MGE’s largest wind farm. The utility also gets wind-generated power from five other farms in Wisconsin and Iowa.

Meanwhile, a separate wind project in southwestern Wisconsin was completed recently and began operating commercially in October. The Quilt Block wind farm, built for Dairyland Power Cooperative of La Crosse, will be dedicated on Friday.

Quilt Block has 49 wind turbines that can generate up to 98 megawatts of power.

Owned and operated by EDP Renewables, Quilt Block is about 20 miles southeast of Platteville and cost about $167 million to build.

With the addition of Quilt Block and Saratoga, about 8.4 percent of Wisconsin utilities’ power plant production will come from wind — more than half of that, 5.2 percent, from outside Wisconsin, said Tyler Huebner, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin.

Alliant Energy, of Madison, also has announced plans to add wind energy, but no project or site has been named yet.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.