FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5th, 2018
Contacts: Tim Maier, BPU General Manager, 620-245-2515
Mark Wurm, BPU Assistant General Manager
McPherson, Ks – Management at the McPherson Board of Public Utilities announced today that they have signed an agreement with their partners at Westar Energy to purchase 50MW of renewable Kansas wind energy from the new farm that is in development in Nemaha County. On July 11th, 2018 Westar announced that had reached a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC to purchase energy from The Soldier Creek Windfarm. This 300 MW farm will produce carbon free energy from 121 General Electric turbines, all located in Nemaha County.
Currently, approximately 15% of BPU’s energy supply comes from wind; once the Soldier Creek Windfarm is in operation, BPU’s expects that 30% – 35% of their energy will come from this renewable resource.
“The utility has had two years to watch how wind performed; given the positive experience we have had, carbon free emission characteristic of wind, and favorable price of wind energy, we made the decision to add more to our supply. Customers will now get to claim that over 30% of their energy comes from clean Kansas wind all without compromising our competitive and stable rate structure”, stated BPU General Manager, Tim Maier.
BPU provides one of the lowest cost electric power supplies in the Nation. Electric intensive industrial customers have prospered in McPherson with the average industrial rate being only 5.0 cents per kWh in 2017. In addition to the competitive rates, BPU’s customers enjoy BPU’s virtually unlimited capacity and unbeatable reliability through their fully redundant electric system. BPU’s stable and competitive prices are credited to an interconnect agreement with Westar Energy.
“Westar and BPU have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship, and over the last several years, we have seen Westar dedicate the time and resources to harness the plentiful Kansas wind to generate clean energy for our state, making Kansas in the top three in the U.S. for renewable generation. So, when BPU was ready to add more, Westar was our first call” Stated Mark Wurm, BPU Assistant General Manager.
“It’s a fact that large corporations around the country are becoming strong environmental champions, several of McPherson’s industrial businesses included. Businesses are not only looking at cost of their energy but also where that energy is sourced from. We recognize that by increasing the renewables in BPU’s energy supply, McPherson will have an even greater advantage when it comes to winning business expansion and new business attraction projects” stated, Kasi Morales, BPU Key Account Manager and Executive Director of the McPherson Industrial Development Company.
Much of McPherson’s economic development success and appeal to electric intensive customers is attributed to the municipally owned Board of Public Utilities. Several large industrial companies in the McPherson area include Pfizer (manufacturer of pharmaceutical drugs), CHS Oil Refinery (gasoline and oil products), Viega (plastic and metal), Johns-Manville (fiberglass insulation) and many others.
Commercial operation of Soldier Creek Wind Farm is anticipated to be December 2020.