Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BPU announces deal for additional wind energy

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The Kansas City Board of Public utilities (BPU) has announced it has completed negotiations with OwnEnergy Inc., a developer of mid-sized wind projects, for the purchase of 25 megawatts of energy generated by wind turbines.

The wind farm will be located south of Alexander, Kan., in Rush County and began construction in December 2013, and will tie into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Midwest Energy transmission system.

The contract between BPU and OwnEnergy Inc. is a 20-year renewable energy Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). It is anticipated that energy will be available to BPU in October 2015.

The wind-generated energy purchased will help supplement BPU’s base-load generation produced by the utility’s two power plants. Since wind is variable, it is considered an intermittent source of power and cannot be regarded as base-load generation.

“We are pleased about adding this renewable source of energy to our generating mix – it is important to our future, and wind is among the least-cost renewable energy resources," said Don Gray, General Manager of BPU.

He explained that BPU is continually evaluating various sources of energy as part of the utility’s integrated resource planning.

“We strive for a diversified fuel mix, and we’re proud to add this additional Kansas wind power to our energy portfolio,” Gray said.

With the addition of the PPA from the Alexander Wind Farm, BPU will have wind energy equal to 10 percent of its peak demand and 22 percent of its peak in renewables when this wind farm goes online with total renewables at 110 MW at that time.

This exceeds the state’s renewable energy standard which currently requires electric utilities to have at least 10 percent of their peak demand from renewable resources through 2015, 15 percent in 2016 and 20 percent beginning in 2020.

Joe Jarsulic, Director of Electric Supply Planning for BPU, discussed the benefits of this wind power agreement including favorable pricing, contract terms and that the project is in Kansas. “It is a long-term agreement at a fixed price, and in turn will save the ratepayers money.” Jarsulic estimates that this agreement will save BPU ratepayers an average of $900,000 per year over the 20 year term.

Jacob Susman, Founder and CEO of OwnEnergy, said, “This is an exciting milestone for OwnEnergy and BPU and is an important step in building a secure, clean and economical energy future for Kansas, and for the country.”