Westar Energy’s new Western Plains Wind Farm near Spearville is now complete, advancing Kansas’ position as a leading producer of renewable energy. With energy production from Western Plains Wind Farm, Westar Energy can now meet more than half the annual electricity needs of the homes, businesses and organizations it serves with no emissions.
“By carefully selecting the locations for our wind farms, we’ve cost-effectively grown our commitment to renewable energy,” John Bridson, senior vice president, generation and marketing, said. “In February, on a day with particularly windy conditions, there was one hour where we met 90 percent of our customers’ electricity needs with renewable energy.”
The Western Plains 280 megawatt wind farm in Ford County began full operation March 1. Westar will own and operate the wind farm, which Infinity Wind developed and Mortenson Construction built. Westar selected Siemens turbines. Nacelles, the key component housing the electric generators for the turbines, were manufactured in Hutchinson.
Over the next 20 years of operation about $75 million in land lease payments and payments to local and county government will boost the local economy. Construction entailed about 200 temporary jobs, and the wind farm brings about three dozen permanent jobs to the community.
Western Plains is the third wind farm owned by Westar Energy, in addition to eight wind farms and a land fill gas generator that Westar makes possible through long-term power contracts. Later this spring, Westar will add a 1 MW community solar installation in South Hutchinson to its renewable commitment. Renewable sources meet about a third the annual electricity needs of the homes, businesses and organizations served by Westar, with Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station providing another 20 percent.