Prairie Wind Transmission, a joint venture between Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America, celebrated completion of its 108-mile, 345-kV high-capacity electrical transmission line in southcentral Kansas with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 30. The double-circuit line will serve as an electric energy superhighway between eastern and western Kansas, promoting growth of renewable energy in Kansas, providing greater access to lower-cost electricity and improved reliability in the region.
“This is an exciting day as we celebrate the first transmission line of this magnitude in our state. Thanks to excellent project management, not only did we complete the project several months ahead of schedule, the total cost was about $63 million less than expected,” said Kelly Harrison, president, PWT and Westar’s vice president of transmission. “We formed meaningful partnerships with our neighbors while constructing this line, working closely with landowners, communities, government leaders and environmental organizations to determine the best possible route. This line is a testament to the Kansas spirit and how when we work together, we can make great things happen.”
Westar Energy managed the planning and construction of the line. Line construction was complete three months ahead of the Dec. 31, 2014, deadline. The final cost of the line will be about $161.5 million, 30 percent less than the initial estimate of $225 million.
During Thursday’s celebration, Carl Holmes, former member of the Kansas House of Representatives and chairman of the House Energy and Utilities Committee, was honored for his support in the project. Holmes was awarded a plaque for his work championing legislation that promoted electrical transmission development in Kansas.
“This transmission line will provide generations of Kansans with access to efficient, clean and reliable electricity,” Harrison said. “But it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and support of Carl Holmes.”
The Wichita to Woodward line, part of the broader “Y Plan,” links Westar Energy’s Wichita Substation near Gordon Evans Energy Center to the Thistle Substation near Medicine Lodge, and on to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, where it will connect to a line being constructed by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. ITC Great Plains will construct the line from Medicine Lodge to a Clark County substation and then to Spearville.
For more information about Prairie Wind Transmission, visit www.prairiewindtransmission.com.