A new energy plan was announced by Kansas City Power and Light Co. to expand two of its energy-efficiency programs, one of which will double its wind-generating capacity to serve nearly 124,000 typical homes.
As more wind farm projects begin operations in the U.S., the shift toward wind energy conservation becomes a bigger concern for energy companies. Utility and electric companies are seeing the major trends in shifting away from the typical CO2 emitting coal-powered plants to more renewable energy resources. One of the most prolific renewable energy sources utility companies are taking advantage of is wind power.
In Kansas, a new energy plan was announced by Kansas City Power and Light Co. to expand two of its energy-efficiency programs, one of which will double its wind-generating capacity to serve nearly 124,000 typical homes, reported The Kansas City Star. With the new program, the utility company will be able to open the rebate programs under the Missouri Energy Efficient Investment Act (MEEIA) to all of its customers.
One of the largest investments toward wind in the state
The MEEIA will counter the criticism from environmentalists that an earlier conservation-incentive plan wasn't broad enough for the state to take advantage of with wind energy, reported The Kansas City Star. KCP&L is prepared to purchase 400 megawatts of power from two new wind turbine facilities in the state, which will increase the wind energy portfolio to 939 megawatts. According to KCP&L, the investment will make it the largest provider of renewable energy generation by any investor-owned utility in all of Kansas and Missouri, reported The Kansas City Star.
Operations are expected to produce power by early 2016 and the two new wind facilities are going to be built in Coffey County, Kan., and in Holt County, Mo. The wind project announcement was praised by the Sierra Club, which had earlier criticized the utility company for taking its time to increase its wind-generation power.
Holly Bender, deputy director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, told The Kansas City Star that KCP&L deserves credit for taking hold of the opportunity to enhance its clean energy portfolio and now the utility company has made itself a regional leader on wind energy.
The operation will be handled by the Houston-based EDP Renewables company, which will control the Kansas wind turbine facility, and Element Power of Portland, Ore., will build and operate the Missouri facility. Each new facility is expected to bring 200 MW of electricity under the 20-year agreement, reported The Kansas City Star.
"We believe the total benefit for our customers over the next 20 years is that rates and costs will be about $1 billion lower than they would have been if we hadn't been investing in wind and energy efficiency," Katie McDonald, KCP&L spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
No rate increases for the state
The good news for Kansas and Missouri residents is that there is no planned rate increase and the utility company has no plans to any sort of rate-hike through the next two years, reported The Kansas City Star. KCP&L will commit $25 million a year toward reducing energy demand and passing the eventual savings along to its customers. The benefits would come from approximately $400 million from energy efficiency and around $600 million in energy savings since wind power projects reduce the need to use fossil fuels.
"These investments continue our commitment to move toward a more sustainable energy future in an affordable way," Terry Bassham, KCP&L president and chief executive, told The Kansas City Star.
Two new wind energy projects in Kansas and Missouri will provide 200 megawatts of electricity each.