The University of Kansas (KU) has signed an agreement with Westar Energy to ensure that nearly 100% of its future electricity needs will be supplied by wind energy.
A 20-year agreement with Westar will provide the KU Lawrence campus with 31 MW of energy from a 300 MW project to be constructed in Nemaha County. The Soldier Creek Wind Farm is expected to be online by the end of 2020.
In Kansas, the Direct Renewable Participation Service (DRPS) tariff, passed by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in July, enables large commercial and industrial customers to contract with Westar Energy for wind energy supply at a lower rate than the utility’s current offerings, explains KU.
The DRPS tariff is expected to lower the university’s fuel factor cost from 2.3 cents per kWh to 1.8 cents per kWh, representing a nearly 22% savings.
“Being able to avoid the volatility of fuel prices and lock in at a lower fuel price helps us save money now, meet campus sustainability goals and have electricity from wind for 20 years,” says Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor at KU.
The Lawrence campus uses 130 million kWh of electricity a year, enough energy to power about 12,500 homes. By supporting wind energy production in Kansas, KU will significantly offset its carbon footprint. KU’s Lawrence campus is also working to reduce energy consumption.
Westar Energy also recently announced agreements for the Soldier Creek Wind Farm with Kansas State University and Washburn University. The wind project is being developed by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC.
“The Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center will bring lasting benefits to Nemaha County, including 250 construction jobs, 15 permanent jobs and more than $50 million in land-rights payments through the first 30 years of the project,” notes Brandon Sack, clean energy development manager at Westar Energy.