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Westar Energy breaks ground on Western Plains Wind Farm

From left, Tom Kristensen, construction executive, Mortensen Construction, John Bridson, senior vice president, generation and marketing, Westar Energy, Eli Bosco, vice president, project development, Infinity  Wind Power, and Dave Lucas, regional vice president, Midwest field sales, Siemens Power Systems. Westar Energy welcomed local leaders and landowners Monday to break ground and celebrate as construction begins on the 280 megawatt Western Plains Wind Farm near Spearville.

“We are committed to modernizing the power supply that serves our customers, and wind energy has an important role. We believe that using a variety of generation sources – traditional fossil fuel plants, nuclear, and renewable wind and solar – all working together is the best way to keep energy prices low, make sure electricity is there when our customers need it and care for the environment,” John Bridson, senior vice president, generation and marketing.

Westar in collaboration with Infinity Wind Power will develop Western Plains Wind Farm in Ford County, Kan., which will bring Westar’s renewable energy total to more than 1,700 megawatts when it is online early next year. Westar selected turbines from Siemens, key components of which will be assembled in the Siemens facility in Hutchinson, Kan. Mortensen Construction will build the wind farm.

The Western Plains Wind Farm will stimulate economic development in Ford County through land lease royalties paid to local landowners and payments to local and county government, expected to be about $75 million during the first 20 years of operation. Additionally, this project creates more than 200 construction jobs, followed by about three dozen permanent jobs, and involving $435 million capital investment.

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