Topeka Public Schools set to bank on wind power

Published: Jan. 17, 2019 at 10:30 PM CST
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Topeka Public Schools believes the answer to saving on utility bills is blowing in the wind.

The USD 501 Board of Education approved a contract Thursday night with Westar Energy. It will allow the district to get 78 percent of its energy use from wind.

The 20-year agreement locks in a fixed rate of .018. District officials say, had they been paying that rate over the past five years, they would have saved more than $260,000.

"Taking advantage of an opportunity to use an alternative energy source, becoming more responsible from an environmental standpoint and at the same time garnering savings in energy costs for the foreseeable future, are all reasons the district wanted to be part of this program," said Larry Robbins, deputy superintendent of operation for Topeka Public Schools.

The power would come from Westar's Solider Creek Wind Farm, located in Nemaha County. It is set to come online in late 2020 or early 2021.

USD 501 joins Washburn University, University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden as entities set to receive energy from Soldier Creek.