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Westar proposes new power lines

Westar Energy has identified plans to build numerous power transmission lines over the next decade the electrical utility says will further its ability to make renewable sources of energy available.

“Transmission is critical to maintaining Kansas’ position as an energy leader,” Westar president and chief executive officer Bill Moore said in a statement announcing the proposed new transmission lines.

New legislation, including a Kansas law requiring utilities to produce more electricity from renewable sources, are driving the need for an improved electric grid, Westar officials said.

“Kansas is finding many wind projects stymied by limited transmission capacity,” said Kelly Harrison, Westar’s vice president of transmission operations and environmental services.

Among the lines Westar proposes to develop over the next decade are several from the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys:

— A 70-mile line from Jeffrey Energy Center to the Iatan Energy Center near Atchison.

— A 90-mile line from Jeffrey to Manhattan and Concordia.

— A 45-mile line from Jeffrey to the Swissvale of Osage County, north of Overbrook.

Other proposed projects include:

— A 40-mile line from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant near Burlington to Emporia.

— A 60-mile line from Concordia to Salina.

— A 100 mile line from Salina to Hays.

— A 160-mile line from Hutchinson to Great Bend to Spearville.

— An 80-mile line from Wichita to Rose Hill.

Westar’s projects will be coordinated through the Southwest Power Pool, a federally approved regional transmission organization with members in Kansas and eight other states. Projects also will be submitted to the Kansas Corporation Commission for consideration.

Westar did not identify a specific timetable for any one project, saying only that it would “continue to collaborate with the SPP, neighboring transmission owners and market participants in identifying cost effective projects and getting them approved, in the right sequence, at the right time and with assurance they are built efficiently.”

Westar also pledged to work with landowners, communities and environmental experts in the development of the proposed new lines.

“We understand the importance of working with the people we might affect while doing business,” Harrison said.