Power line project necessary for wind farms still alive

A proposed $700 million power line in western Kansas — and the hopes for wind power development in the state — has gotten a temporary reprieve.

Prairie Wind Transmission, which includes Westar Energy, and ITC Great Plains have proposed a 200-mile, 765-kilovolt line to link western Kansas, Wichita and lines from Nebraska and Oklahoma. The new line is needed to handle power production from the wind farms.

The Southwest Power Pool, the quasi-governmental agency that decides which projects get funded, left the project off a list of projects to be funded going into a critical meeting today.

But the pool's board told Westar officials this afternoon that it will hold off on omitting the project in order to study it further.

Results of the study are due back at its next board meeting on Jan. 26. A decision probably won't be made until the spring, the company said.