July 12, 2018 Read More →

Westar gets Kansas OK to sell green energy direct to businesses

The Topeka Capital-Journal:

Westar Energy launched a new program this week that its leader called “a powerful economic development tool” that will allow businesses access to wind energy.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Corporation Commission gave its stamp of approval to the Direct Renewable Participation Service. That opened the way for Westar to announce Wednesday that it had reached a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC to purchase energy from a new 300 megawatt wind farm that is being developed in Nemaha County.

“The KCC unlocked a powerful economic development tool. Many large companies want affordable green energy when they choose sites for expansion or new facilities,” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy, which operates as Westar Energy and KCP&L. “We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses. Wind energy boosts our local economies starting with the new wind farm jobs and the lease payments to landowners hosting the wind farm all the way to the communities that grow as businesses choose Kansas.”

The program offers businesses a way to meet their sustainability goals by tapping into Kansas wind energy, said Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig. “There are a lot of large companies that when looking either expanding their facilities or looking at new facilities, they’re really interested in affordable, renewable energy,” she said, adding that having a direct connection to a Kansas wind farm offers a tangible opportunity for those companies.

Businesses that participate will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm, to be called the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, as their own. The new program is aimed at large commercial customers, she said.

“It provides a direct access,” Penzig said. “First of all, the pricing is based on the price agreed to with the wind farm developer. So they’re getting to see some of the great prices available from Kansas renewables today. In addition, they are able to tell their stakeholders that they have a direct piece of Soldier Creek Wind Farm in Kansas. They don’t have an ownership share, but there’s a portion of the wind energy produced at that wind farm that is dedicated to them and is going to their operations.”

More: In the wind: Westar launches push to meet business green energy needs

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