Westar Energy said that with the start of operations this week at its Western Plains Wind Farm near Dodge City, it can now meet a third of its electrical needs with wind energy.
Westar owns the 280-megawatt Western Plains wind farm in Ford County. It was developed by Infinity Wind and built by Mortenson Construction. The housings of the Siemens turbines at the wind farm were made in Hutchinson.
Westar now has a capacity for nearly 1,700 megawatts of energy from wind. It owns three wind farms and buys the power of eight more. All but one are in Kansas.
“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 a statement. “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.”
Over the next 20 years of operation, Westar will make about $75 million in land lease payments and payments to local and county government. Construction entailed about 200 temporary jobs, and the wind farm brings about three dozen permanent jobs to the community.
About 20 percent of Westar’s energy comes from the Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant. About half of its electricity comes from coal-fired generators and natural-gas-fired plants. It also has several small solar and landfill gas reclamation energy plants.