Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America have banded together in hopes of building ultra-high capacity transmission lines between Wichita and the Spearville substation.
The partnership, dubbed Prairie Wind Transmission, is expected to get under way after the company receives government approval for the project, according to a statement released by Westar Energy.
The purpose of the transmission lines was to provide an opportunity for Kansas’ renewable wind energy to be shipped across the state and country, Westar CEO Bill Moore said in a statement.
Kelly Harrison, Western Energy vice president and president of Prairie Wind, said in the same statement that the project would offer economic benefits for those in the affected areas, including Kiowa and Ford counties.
Harrison said the lines would be the start of an interstate transmission “super highway” that would allow Kansas to export renewable energy resources to states that don’t have similar options. Kansans could also access power markets across the region.
The 230-mile project includes a southwest stretch of transmission lines branching from Medicine Lodge south to the Oklahoma border.
The construction project, which could eventually cost more than $500 million, would offer an economic boost in rural Kansas by providing new construction jobs, according to a news release from Westar Energy.
Prairie Wind Transmission’s first project is touted to be the first ultra-high capacity transmission line built west of the Mississippi River.
Erin La Row, spokeswoman for Westar in Wichita, told the Globe on Friday that it was unclear this early in the plan whether the wind energy produced by the Spearville Wind Farm would be tied into the new lines. La Row went on to say it was also unclear how much wind power in general would be transmitted.
No time line has been set for the project, but company officials are estimating the lines would be up and fully running by the end of 2013.
By Mark Vierthaler
26 May 2008
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