Kansas wind energy developers optimistic

Wind energy officials said the push for more wind farms in Kansas won’t slow down despite the biggest wind energy buyer halting for now.

Various local, state and corporate officials, as well as local landowners will gather Wednesday in Kingman County to dedicate the Kingman and Ninnescah wind farms, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2nAr09O ) reported.

Westar, the company generating about 40 percent of all Kansas wind power, recently increased operations on its 280-megawatt capacity Western Plains wind farm near Dodge City. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said that for the time being, the company is done purchasing.

Bryan Garner, spokesman for wind farm developer NextERA, said the wind energy market is still strong. NextERA developed the Kingman County wind farms.

“We don’t foresee a slowing,” he said. “We are very bullish about renewable energy and continue to invest in Kansas.”

Wind is considered attractive to utility companies because of the low cost and the fact that the cost is locked in for up to 20 years by contract. New wind plants receive a $23 per megawatt inflation-adjusted production tax credit over the plant’s first decade of service if they were under construction before the end of 2016. That tax credit would decline each year until it disappears by 2020.

Kansas wind power generation grew 18 percent last year, making it the fifth-highest state in the nation.

“The biggest role is the technology has gotten significantly more efficient,” Infinity Renewables Vice President Matt Langley said. “You get more megawattage out of the same gust of wind.”

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