Westar energy says it plans to invest over a half-billion dollars in wind energy and double the number of wind generators across the state.
“No better place than Kansas, Kansas has some of the best wind conditions in North America for generating wind power,” Westar Executive Vice President James Ludwig said.
Westar wants to put plants in Wichita, Cloud, and Barber counties.
All told the plants will generate 300 megawatts or enough to power 88,000 homes.
According to Westar executives it would delay the need for the company to build another coal plant.
“Hopefully during that time, more technologies can be developed, more controls with regard to emissions to be developed,” Ludwig said.
Still wind farms in Kansas have been controversial in the past. Landowners opposed such projects saying they were unsightly and a hazard for birds.
The Nature Conservancy, however, says it applauds Westar’s effort and Westar says it works hard to reduce the environmental impact when selecting the sites.
“We’ve tried to site the plants so we’ve minimized the chance of harming any migratory birds, we’ve also tried to make sure the plants are sited where ground nesting birds won’t be disrupted,” Ludwig said.
The Kansas Corporation Commission still has to approve the project.
Westar hopes to have the wind farms operational by 2008.
Westar says once the farms are operational, customers can expect an increase of around two dollars a month in their electric bill to cover costs for building the generators.
1 October 2007
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