Landowners and local leaders celebrated the beginning of construction of the Kingman Wind Energy Center near Kingman this week. Kansas Govenor Sam Brownback participated in the event, along with dozens of local landowners, officials and company representatives. Attendees even signed a 150-foot wind turbine blade that will be used in the project.
“Wind energy creates good, high-paying jobs and produces millions of dollars in payments to landowners and local government, which directly benefit schools, roads and essential services,” said John DiDonato, VP of wind development for NextEra Energy Resources. “This is a project the community can be proud of – one that will help sustain Kingman County economically and provide clean, renewable energy for generations of Kansans to come.”
“The energy produced here will help move Kansas forward. Several of our wholesale customers recognize their customers also want renewable energy. We are excited to partner with them as we develop a more modern power supply for all of our customers,” John Bridson, Westar Energy Senior VP of generation and marketing, said.
“Kansas is not only the Wheat State; it is the renewables state,” Gov. Sam Brownback said. “It is my goal that by the time I leave office in 2018, 50% of our energy will come from renewable resources.”
At 200 MW, the wind farm will produce enough energy for about 50,000 Kansas homes. Westar Energy will purchase electricity from the wind farm, which NextEra Energy Resources will develop and operate. Westar is providing about half the energy produced at Kingman to its wholesale partners Midwest Energy and the cities of McPherson, Chanute, Iola, Fredonia, and Sabetha through energy management service agreements. The remaining energy will serve Westar’s retail customers.
The Kingman wind project is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2016 and will bring Westar’s commitment to renewable energy to about 1750 MW, which is enough to provide about a third of its retail customers’ electricity.