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Getty Images 186920634
Getty Images 186920634
Getty Images 186920634
Getty Images 186920634

Evergy and NextEra Partner to Bring Wind Energy Direct to Customers

Nov. 20, 2020
Renewables Direct makes affordable wind energy available to commercial customers.

More than 50 businesses and organizations served by Evergy will begin receiving energy from two area wind farms in November as part of a program that makes affordable wind energy available to commercial customers.

Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, a 300-MW wind farm in north central Kansas, and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center, a 200-MW wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, are beginning service in November and will provide energy for customers of Evergy's Renewables Direct program and to McPherson Board of Public Utilities. Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center are subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

"Kansas is a leader in wind energy. The expansion of wind energy in our area brings economic investment and jobs to communities near wind farms and affordable, clean energy to our customers," said Terry Bassham, Evergy president and chief executive officer.

"We are pleased to partner with Evergy to help bring low-cost, renewable energy to its customers," said John Ketchum, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources. "The Soldier Creek and Ponderosa Wind projects are expected to provide millions of dollars in additional revenue for landowners and local communities while generating clean, homegrown energy for years to come."

Evergy meets the electricity needs of about half the homes and businesses it serves with emission-free sources, including wind energy. Renewables Direct provides long-term price stability and competitive pricing for local renewable energy to qualifying businesses, agencies, and commercial customers. As new customers enroll in the program, Evergy expands its renewable energy sources to serve them and help them meet their sustainability goals.

"Renewables Direct is a great tool to attract new businesses to our area and meet the needs of current customers using our area's abundant wind energy. It helps customers realize their sustainability goals while providing long-term price stability," said Jeff Martin, Evergy vice president of community and customer operations. "Direct association with wind farms is more accessible to a variety of customers through Renewables Direct and partnerships with Evergy."  

Secretary of Commerce David Toland said: "This is an exciting development in wind energy and it's especially exciting to see this program in Kansas. Not only is wind energy production good for the environment but it's also a major investment for future businesses in our state. Wind energy employs thousands of Kansans and fuels our state's economy. I look forward to the important benefits Renewables Direct will bring for the businesses and people of our state."

The wind projects created approximately 450 jobs during the construction phase. The projects will provide approximately US$74 million in guaranteed payments to the county governments over their projected 30-year operational life, and approximately US$86 million in payments to local landowners.

"Renewable energy is good for the environment and the Kansas economy — particularly as we work to overcome COVID-19-related economic challenges," Governor Kelly said. "I commend Evergy for helping to solidify Kansas' position as a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of wind power."

In 2019, wind fueled 41% of electricity production in Kansas, making it No. 2 nationally for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. According to the American Wind Energy Association, development of wind farms in Kansas has brought more than US$11 billion in capital investment and created more than 5000 jobs in the state. Each year, project-related payments exceeding US$60 million are paid to state and local governments and in lease payments.

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