DODGE CITY – A proposal to build Spearville’s second wind farm won approval from the Ford County Commission on Monday.
The commission signed off on a conditional use permit and development plan for the first phase of a wind farm on the Ironwood site. The site is located on the south and east sides of Spearville and extends up into Hodgeman County.
Westar Energy, which is teaming up with Infinity Wind Power on the project, plans to develop the site for approximately 500 megawatts of wind energy. The first phase alone is expected to produce about 200 megawatts.
The state has proposed requiring Westar Energy to have the first phase up and running by 2011, but Westar officials have asked the Kansas Corporation Commission to extend the deadline, said Don Ford, project manager for generation construction.
“And so, our schedule for this site would be to have it built out and in service third quarter, fourth quarter of 2012,” he said. “We’re trying to be proactive and make sure we leave ourselves enough time to get turbines bought and delivered and built out.”
The Topeka-based Westar already owns the 99-megawatt Central Plains Wind Farm near Leoti and part of the Flat Ridge Wind Farm in Barber County. The company also purchases energy from the Meridian Wind Farm near Concordia.
The Ironwood site would help the company diversify its portfolio of wind farms.
Commission Chairman Kim Goodnight said the project would boost the local economy.
“I think that Ford County citizens and landowners and such will all benefit from it,” he said. “We appreciate your coming into our community and expressing a willingness to invest in it.”
The Ironwood site will be located near proposed extra-high-voltage transmission lines, making it possible to ship power from the site to other communities.
The Southwest Power Pool – a group of regional utilities – has issued a construction permit for a 765-kilovolt line from near Dodge City to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border. Prairie Wind Transmission will build the section from Wichita to Medicine Lodge and down to the state line, where it will join Oklahoma’s ultra-high-voltage line.
ITC will build a section that starts at Spearville, extends through Comanche County and ends at Medicine Lodge.
In other business, the commission approved a conditional use permit and development plan for Nextera Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light that wants to build an electrical substation between X and Yucca roads.
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