Midwest Co-ops Tap Kansas WindBy Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: April 11th, 2012
Electricity produced at a Kansas wind farm will soon be flowing across state lines as a new source of renewable energy for electric cooperatives in several states.
Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. recently inked a power purchase agreement for 51 megawatts of wind energy capacity produced at the Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm, southwest of Wichita, Kan.
“The addition of wind power to AECC’s generation portfolio will help stabilize energy prices for cooperative member-owners,” said Duane Highley, president and CEO of the Little Rock-based wholesale electricity supplier.
The 262 turbines are now being assembled across 66,000 acres of Kansas prairie, and the facility is expected to be fully operational by late 2012. The 17 distribution cooperatives supplied by AECC will share the G&T’s allocated output from the 419-MW facility.
The wind generation will be added to the G&T’s portfolio of coal-based, natural gas-based and hydroelectric generation, which now totals approximately 3,000 megawatts from 12 facilities.
“As members and owners of their electric cooperative, our members gain access to this renewable energy every month with no additional charge on their bill,” said Highley.
AECC worked with the National Renewable Cooperative Organization to reach agreement with the developers.
“AECC has a long history of diversification of fuel sources for its generation facilities,” said Rob Roedel, manager of corporate communications for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Corp. “The addition of wind power to the cooperative’s generation portfolio is a testament to the continued commitment to providing reasonably priced power to its member cooperatives.”
The turbines are being assembled at the rate of two per day with about 500 workers involved. BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power are investing more than $800 million in the project, which is expected to create about 30 permanent jobs in the Harper, Kan., area.
“The development of the Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm is an important component to achieving energy independence and revitalizing rural Kansas,” said Gov. Sam Brownback, who toured the site April 4.
Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., a Springfield, Mo.-based G&T, previously announced a purchase agreement for 300 MW of the project’s capacity.
“The focus for us … is low-cost, reliable power supply for 875,000 co-op consumers in three states,” said Roger Clark, director of AECI’s Engineering and Operations Division. “This long-term agreement ensures we will continue as Missouri’s wind energy leader to supply low-cost, renewable electricity to our member-consumers in Missouri, northeast Oklahoma and southeast Iowa.”
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