Kansas sees new wind energy initiative

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 1:02 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced a new wind energy initiative.

Governor Laura Kelly says she is applauding the announcement of the new Renewables Direct initiative at Evergy.

“Renewable energy is good for the environment and the Kansas economy – particularly as we work to overcome COVID-19-related economic challenges,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Today’s announcement from Evergy is further showing Kansas’ position as a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of wind power.”

According to Gov. Kelly, Renewables Direct provides long-term price stability and competitive pricing for local renewable energy to businesses, agencies and commercial customers that qualify. She said as new customers enroll, Evergy will expand its renewable energy sources to continue to meet sustainability goals. She said the company has announced that over 50 organizations have started receiving energy from two area wind farms in November.

Gov. Kelly said according to Evergy, the wind projects created around 450 jobs during the construction phase. She said the projects promise to provide around $74 million in guaranteed payments to the county governments over its projected 30-year operational life and around $86 million in payments to local landowners.

“This is an exciting development in wind energy, and it’s especially exciting to see this program in Kansas,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Not only is wind energy production good for the environment, it’s a major investment for future businesses in our state. Wind energy employs thousands of Kansans and fuels our state’s economy. I look forward to the important benefits Renewables Direct will bring for the businesses and people of our state.”

According to Gov. Kelly, Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, which is a 300-megawatt wind farm in north-central Kansas, and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center, which is a 200-megawatt wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, will begin service in November and will provide energy for customers of the Renewable Direct program and to McPherson Board of Public Utilities. She said Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center are both subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

“Kansas is a leader in wind energy,” Evergy President and CEO Terry Bassham said. “The expansion of wind energy in our area brings economic investment and jobs to communities near wind farms and affordable, clean energy to our customers.”

Gov. Kelly said in 2019, wind energy accounted for 41% of the state’s electricity production, making Kansas the second highest producer of wind energy as a share of total electricity generated in the U.S. She said according to the American Wind Energy Association, the development of wind farms in Kansas has brought over $11 billion in capital investment and created over 5,000 jobs. She said each year, project-related payments that exceed $60 million are paid to state and local governments and in lease payments.

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