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Turning out turbines  

The number of large wind farms in the state is expected to more than double next year following the Kansas Corporation Commission’s go-ahead granted late Thursday to Westar Energy’s wind farm proposal.

The KCC gave approval for the utility to honor tentative agreements it had with three developers for wind farms that will create almost 300 megawatts of power and provide electricity to 88,000 homes.

With the addition of these farms and the Smoky Hills Wind Project near Salina, which should be completed next month, state utilities will receive more than 860 megawatts of electricity from wind power.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has set a goal of having wind energy account for 10 percent of the state’s energy production, or 1,050 megawatts, by 2010.

Several other wind farm projects are in the development stage, said Rob Freeman, chief executive officer for TradeWind Energy, which is based in Lenexa.

“The key thing that makes these things work and go forward is a contract with one or more utility companies,” Freeman said. “In the Kansas market, that is generally required in order to finance a farm.”

Wind energy projects in Kansas

In operation

1. Elk River Wind Project
Location: Butler County, about 45 miles east of Wichita
Customer: Empire District Electric Co.
Capacity: 150 megawatts
Turbines: 100
Households served: About 42,000

2. Gray County Wind Farm
Location: Montezuma, about 25 miles west of Dodge City
Customer: Aquila Inc.
Capacity: 112 megawatts
Turbines: 170
Households served: About 33,000

3. Spearville Wind Energy Facility
Location: 15 miles northeast of Dodge City
Customer: Kansas City Power & Light
Capacity: 100.5 megawatts
Turbines: 67
Households served: 33,000

4. Westar Wind Farm
Location: Near Jeffrey Energy Center coal plant
Customer: Westar
Capacity: 1.2 megawatts Turbines: 2
Households served: Goes into system for all customers

5. Kansas-Smith Wind Projects
Location: Kansas-Smith hog farm in southwest Kansas, near the town of Plains
Customer: Enertech Wind Systems
Capacity: 0.24 of a megawatt
Turbines: 2
Households served: Used on the hog farm

Under construction

6. Smoky Hills Wind Project
Location: About 20 miles west of Salina
Customer: Sunflower Electric of Hays, Kansas City Board of Utilities and Midwest Energy
Capacity: 100.8 megawatts
Households served: 30,000
Operational: Phase 1 should be completed next month. A second phase is in development, but no contracts have been signed.

7. Meridian Way Wind Farm
Location: Eight miles southeast of Concordia, in Cloud County
Customer: Empire Electric and Westar Energy
Capacity: 201 megawatts
Households served: 65,000
Groundbreaking: Early 2008
In service: Late 2008

8. Flat Ridge Wind Farm
Location: Barber County
Customer: Westar Energy will own half of the power generation and will buy the remaining half
Capacity: 100 megawatts
Households served: 30,000
Groundbreaking: Early 2008
In service: Late 2008

9. Central Plains Wind Farm
Location: Wichita County, between Leoti and Scott City
Owner: Westar Energy
Capacity: 99 megawatts
Households served: 26,000
Groundbreaking: Early 2008
In service: Late 2008

Story by Kasha Stoll

The Topeka Capital-Journal

29 December 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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