More Kansas wind will help power the homes and businesses of Westar Energy’s customers by early 2017. Westar Energy, Kansas’ largest electric utility, recently announced an agreement that will add nearly 300 MWs to its growing wind energy portfolio.
In collaboration with Infinity Wind Power, the utility will construct the Western Plains Wind Farm, a 280-MW wind farm in Ford County, Kansas — which will bring Westar’s renewable energy total to more than 1,500 MWs.
Westar has selected turbines from Siemens, key components of which will be assembled in the Siemens facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. In a separate agreement anticipated before year end, Westar also plans to pursue another 200 MW of wind energy with an option to own 50% of those additional megawatts.
“In today’s power market, wind continues to represent a very affordable option for us, which allows us to provide energy to our customers at a lower cost,” said Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy President and CEO. “Equally important for our state, wind energy creates Kansas jobs in construction, manufacturing, and ongoing operations of the wind farms.”
“The opportunity to continue to work with Westar and, most importantly, meet our commitment to the local landowners is a testament to Westar’s ongoing support of wind energy production,” said Matt Riley, Infinity Wind Power CEO. “We are excited to work with the Westar team to bring economic benefits of wind energy development to this community.”
This project will stimulate economic development in Ford County through land-lease royalties paid to local landowners and payments to local and county government, which is expected to be about $75 million during the first 20 years of operation. Additionally, this project creates more than 200 construction jobs, followed by about three dozen permanent jobs, involving $435 million capital investment.
“I applaud Westar’s leadership in creating jobs in Kansas,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “I’m particularly pleased with the direct investment in Kansas by a Kansas company that will reap benefits for the future of our state.”
With the two additional wind farms by Westar, wind generation will power more than 400,000 homes and businesses.
Filed Under: News, Projects