Westar Energy, Inc. announced that it plans to build a new 345 kV high-capacity transmission line from northwest of Wichita, near its Gordon Evans Energy Center, to the Hutchinson area. Following construction of that line, Westar plans to build additional high capacity power lines to improve the electric network in Kansas, and strengthen Kansas' access to the broader regional transmission system.
Westar's plan to expand its transmission network with new high capacity lines is one of several major initiatives to invest in long-lived electric infrastructure to serve Kansas into the 21st century.
"This new high capacity line will be an essential expansion of the transmission network to serve not only our retail and wholesale customers but also electric users throughout Kansas and a multi-state region," said Kelly Harrison, vice president, transmission operations and environmental services. "Following completion of this route, we plan to make additional transmission network investments with lines running north from the Hutchinson area to Salina and from southeast of Wichita, near Rose Hill, to the Kansas-Oklahoma border. These transmission expansions have been identified by the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission planning organization for our region, as investments that will help assure reliable electric service throughout the region and allow for the expanded development of Kansas' wind resources."
Several routes are being considered for the Wichita to Hutchinson area line, and Westar will conduct open houses to share information with the public and receive comments and suggestions. Westar will file an application with the Kansas Corporation Commission before the end of the year designating the preferred route and requesting authorization to build the line. The company has retained Burns & McDonnell, of Kansas City, Mo., as its consulting engineer to help site and construct the line.
"We recently announced our plans to build 600 MW of natural gas peaking capacity in Lyon County," said James Haines, Westar chief executive officer. "We also expect to identify the site for our next coal plant in Kansas before the end of the year. Our plans to expand our transmission network and to construct new power plants are a sign of Westar's commitment to invest in Kansas and support its growing economy.