Westar Energy Gets Go-Ahead For New Wind Program

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The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) has approved a new program that gives businesses in Westar Energy’s service area greater access to wind power.

With the approval of the program, Westar has announced a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC to purchase energy from a new 300 MW wind farm to be developed in Nemaha County, Kan.

“The KCC unlocked a powerful economic development tool. Many large companies want affordable green energy when they choose sites for expansion or new facilities,” comments Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy, the newly formed company that operates as Westar Energy and KCP&L. “We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses. Wind energy boosts our local economies, starting with the new wind farm jobs and the lease payments to landowners hosting the wind farm, all the way to the communities that grow as businesses choose Kansas.”

The new program aims to attract business development to Kansas by offering businesses a path toward their sustainability goals with Kansas’ abundant renewable energy. Participating businesses will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm as their own, retain all of the renewable attributes and lock in a portion of their electricity prices for up to 20 years. The program is structured to add projects in the future, notes Westar Energy.

The Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, which will be developed northeast of Manhattan, Kan., is expected to bring roughly 250 construction jobs and 15-20 permanent jobs to Nemaha County. During the first 30 years of the project, landowners will receive more than $50 million in land-rights payments, says Westar Energy. The wind farm will be owned and operated by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources Inc.

With its focus on renewables, Evergy meets nearly half of the energy needs for the homes and businesses it serves with energy from zero-emission sources. Nearly one-third comes from renewable energy.

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