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Westar launches efforts to meet green energy needs

July 12, 2018 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas utility company has launched a new program aiming to make it easier for large businesses to access affordable green energy.

The Kansas Corporation Commission on Tuesday approved the Direct Renewable Participation Service by Westar Energy. The approval led to Westar announcing a day later that it has reached a 20-year agreement with a NextEra Energy Resources affiliate to purchase energy from a new 300-megawatt wind farm being developed in Nemaha County, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.


“We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses,” said Terry Bassham, CEO of Evergy, which operates as Westar and Kansas City Power & Light. “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 large commercial businesses a way to meet sustainability goals by accessing Kansas wind energy, said Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig. Participating businesses will be able to claim part of the energy generated by the wind farm as their own.

“It provides a direct access,” Penzig said. “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. ... 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.”

The wind farm is expected to be operational by 2020. Landowners are expected to receive more than $50 million in land-rights payments during the project’s first 30 years.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,