Iowa’s largest energy company, MidAmerican Energy Co, announced it has reached a settlement agreement with environmental group the Sierra Club to cease burning coal at several of its power generating units.
In July 2012, MidAmerican received a notice of intent to sue from the Sierra Club, alleging violations of the federal Clean Air Act and certain state environmental regulations.
In a statement released Tuesday, MidAmerican said it has been and remains in compliance with the law, but entered into settlement negotiations with the Sierra Club in order to avoid the cost and uncertainty related to litigation.
A deal was reached this week and a consent decree filed with the U.S. District Court in Iowa.
Under terms of the agreement MidAmerican will first complete the installation of emissions controls at its coal-fired Neal Energy Center Units 3 and 4 by Dec. 31, 2014.
The utility has then agreed to cease burning coal at its Riverside Generating Station, as well as Units 1 and 2 at its Neal Energy and Walter Scott Jr. Energy Centers by April 2016.
MidAmerican outlined it was still valuing the switch to other fuels at the Neal Energy and Walter Scott Centers, but would continue full operations at Riverside with a conversion to natural-gas fired power.
Finally, MidAmerican has agreed to the funding and development of a new 60-kilowatt solar project at the Iowa State fairgrounds. The installation will include an informative display system highlighting tax credits and other information about distributed solar generation.
MidAmerican Energy is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate and serves 732,000 electric customers and 714,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.