Fourteen Kansas organizations enrolled in Renewables Direct and will receive all or a portion of their electricity from the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center to be built in Nemaha County and will begin operations by the end of 2020.
“This summer, we got permission from the Kansas Corporation Commission to roll out a new program that would let commercial and industrial customers not only receive part of their energy from wind, but also really feel a close connection to that wind farm as we develop new renewables in the state,” said Westar spokesperson Gina Penzig. “We’ve been really happy with the response to that. We already have 90 percent of the wind from the initial offering claimed by some of our Kansas organizations.”
Customers signing up for the initial program introduction include: Ardent Mills, Newton and Wichita; Benedictine College, Atchison; Bunge Milling, Atchison and Emporia; Cargill, Cummings, Emporia, Hutchinson, Topeka and Wichita; Cox Communications, multiple Kansas locations; Evcon, Wichita; Kansas State University, Manhattan; Landoll Corp., Marysville; Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita; Sisters of Charity, Leavenworth; Textron Aviation, Independence and Wichita; University of Kansas, Lawrence; Veteran’s Affairs Medical Centers in Leavenworth, Topeka and Wichita; and Washburn University, Topeka.
“The institutions, the customers that we serve, stepped up and said we want to be part of this,” said Penzig. “They very much have been letting us know that this is something that they want. They want to be sustainable and have sustainable energy options. They also have to mind budgets. We were able to offer them a sustainable energy option that would also lower their costs. Of course, they lined up.”
The 300 MW Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, which will be developed northeast of Manhattan, is expected to bring about 250 construction jobs and 15 to 20 permanent green energy jobs to Nemaha County. During the first 30 years of the project, landowners will receive more than $50 million in land-rights payments. The wind farm will be owned and operated by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, Inc. Construction of the wind farm is scheduled to begin early 2019.