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Winds of change blow into Holt County  

Credit:  By Clinton Thomas | St. Joseph News-Press | March 22, 2014 | www.newspressnow.com ~~

A new player announced its intention earlier this year to enter the region’s alternative energy game.

Element Power will begin construction on the state’s largest wind farm later this year near Oregon, Mo., in southern Holt County.

The company will generate 200 megawatts of electricity at the Mill Creek Wind Farm and will sell the power to Kansas City Power & Light – representing half of KCP&L’s recent commitment to add 400 megawatts of wind power to its grid.

Although news of the project only spread recently, Element Power began to sow the seeds of its new wind farm several years ago. According to Scott Zeimetz, project manager for Element Power, the company has spent the past three to four years securing lease agreements with landowners for potential wind turbine sites.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2014. If everything follows according to plan, the wind farm will begin to operate commercially by the end of December 2015.

Company officials have not determined yet exactly how many turbines will be installed. Element Power expects to choose a model of turbine between 1.7 megawatts and 2 megawatts, which would establish the number of turbines at 100 or more.

The project represents an investment of roughly $400 million in the state of Missouri. About 300 workers will be employed during construction, with 12 to 14 permanent full-time jobs created once Mill Creek becomes operational. Royalties, tax revenue and the general turnover of money in the local economy will provide additional benefits.

When Mill Creek comes online, it will be the first wind farm to begin operation in the region in more than five years.

Six facilities of varying size were constructed starting in 2006, with the most recent one starting operation in 2010.

Wind Capital Group began construction on the state’s first wind farm – Bluegrass Ridge – in 2006 north of King City, Mo. The 27-turbine, 56.7-megawatt facility officially opened in 2007.

Wind Capital brought three more operations online in 2008. The Cow Branch farm consists of 24 turbines that generate 50 megawatts in rural Atchison County. A small four-turbine, five-megawatt operation called Loess Hills sits on the edge of Rock Port, Mo., between the town’s west boundary and U.S. Interstate 29.

Further east, the company constructed the Conception wind farm, with 24 turbines generating 50 megawatts on the hills surrounding the three communities of Conception, Mo., Conception Junction, Mo., and Clyde, Mo., in Nodaway County.

Another company joined the regional wind power industry in 2009, when Iberdola built the Farmers City wind farm near Tarkio, Mo., in Atchison County, with 73 turbines producing 146 megawatts of electricity.

Wind Capital’s latest project, Lost Creek, joined the grid in 2010, with 100 turbines producing 150 megawatts of electricity south and east of King City in DeKalb County.

Source:  By Clinton Thomas | St. Joseph News-Press | March 22, 2014 | www.newspressnow.com

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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