America’s heartland will be gaining more of its electricity from wind, as per the latest announcement from Westar, the Kansas utility company whose tag is “doing whatever it takes to keep the lights on.” What Westar will be doing, in this case, is purchasing power from the Post Rock Wind Farm and Ironwood Windpower Project, weighing in at 201 megawatts (MW) and 168 MW, respectively.
This builds upon Westar’s renewable energy portfolio, which includes three other wind farms totalling nearly 300 MW of installed capacity (and 6 MW via biogas, produced by its Rolling Meadows Landfill Gas Plant). In terms of amount of renewable energy per customer, Westar is currently one of the top utilities in the nation, and plans to advance that position by adding another 369 MW by the end of 2012.
All of which has been spurred in part, no doubt, by Kansas’ new renewable energy standard–signed into law in 2009– that requires investor-owned utilities to commit to renewable energy equal to 10 percent of their average summer peak, then to 15 percent in 2016 and 20 percent in 2020. Under the law, Westar Energy’s 10 percent requirement is about 500 MW; with the additional wind power it plans to bring on in the next four years, Westar will be well on its way to meeting the 15 percent renewable energy requirement that becomes effective in 2016.
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