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Cimarron II wind farm planned; turbine choice is up in air  

Credit:  By John Green - The Hutchinson News, hutchnews.com 6 July 2011 ~~

North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp. will build a second large-scale wind farm in western Kansas, though the utility has not yet determined what turbines it will use at the site.

Duke Energy said Wednesday it will build the 131-megawatt wind power farm in Gray County starting this fall, with the facility operational by 2012. Kansas City, Mo.-based utility Kansas City Power & Light has contracted to purchase all the electricity from the project.

The wind farm, called Cimarron II, will be located on 16,000 acres of leased farmland north of Cimarron, mostly west of K-23. It will generate enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes, officials said.

CPV Renewable Energy Company, a subsidiary of Competitive Power Ventures LLC of Silver Spring, Md., originally had a power-purchase agreement with KCPL for the farm. Duke Energy purchased the fully developed and contracted project from CPV.

Officials with both companies declined to disclose the acquisition terms.

CPV, meanwhile, continues to develop the first phase of its wind project in the area, Cimarron I.

That proposed 165.6-megawatt farm within Foote Township, about 4 miles north of the city of Cimarron on the east side of K-23, is on 12,000 acres of mostly crop and grasslands that are under lease.

“We’re still working on it,” said Michael Resca, with CPV Renewable Energy. “We have a longstanding contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority, since 2009. Because we’ve contracted with a federal authority, however, from an administrative standpoint it takes longer. The project has to go through a more rigorous and thorough environmental review.”

“We’re on track to wrap it up by the end of this year, and to finalize financing and construction next year,” Resca said. “We expect to be on line by the end of 2012. Phase 2 may be constructed and on line before phase 1, but the project is still alive and pushing.”

The company previously identified the Siemens SWT-2.3-101 turbine, which is manufactured in Hutchinson, as the preferred model for the site. The company, however, has not finalized its selection or signed contracts, Resca said.

CPV and KCPL originally announced their contract in May. Resca declined to comment on why CPV sold the Cimarron II project, other than to state it was “for various business reasons.”

Duke Energy announced May 24 it was building a 168-megawatt wind farm in Ford County using the 2.3 MW turbines produced in Hutchinson. The company will sell electricity from the Ironwood Windpower farm to Westar Energy.

“We have not signed a turbine supply agreement (for Cimarron II) and are actively negotiating it,” said Duke Energy spokesman Greg Efthimiou. “We won’t say (what turbines will be used) until we have ink on the dotted line.”

While the contract purchased from CPV Renewable included an overall project design, the size and manufacture of the turbines was “one of the few options still to be determined for the project,” Efthimiou said.

“We have begun negotiations on the turbine supply with a handful of manufacturers,” he said. “We know we’ll get 131 megawatts with whatever combination of turbines we need.”

The company already owns nine other wind farms: four in Wyoming, three in Texas, one in Colorado and one in Pennsylvania. Together, its wind farms can produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

CPV’s renewable energy arm, CPV Renewable Energy Company, is currently developing 4,500 MW of wind power projects across North America.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source:  By John Green - The Hutchinson News, hutchnews.com 6 July 2011

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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