MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. announced that a massive wind farm of 180 to 200 wind turbines would be built across 200 acres of northern Iowa farm fields. The company’s $323 million wind farm will generate 310 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 85,000 homes. Each wind turbine will produce about 1.5 to 1.65 megawatts of power.

Currently, the world’s largest wind facility is located in Washington and Oregon and produces 300 megawatts of electricity, said Greg Abel, company president. The project will place Iowa third in the nation for wind energy production behind California and Texas.

Gov. Tom Vilsack said the project fits with his goal for the state to increase renewable energy sources, create jobs, and help farmers. Farmers in northwest and north-central Iowa, where turbines will be located, will be paid about $4,000 a year for each turbine, Abel said.

The company’s plans call for the first turbines to be operational by the end of 2004 and the project to be completed by 2006.