Kansas City Power and Light has agreed to buy wind energy from two plants now under construction in northwest Missouri.
NextEra Energy Resources is building its Osborn wind farm east of St. Joseph. It’s expected to be up and running by the end of the year and provide 200 megawatts of energy. A little further north, Tradewind Energy plans to complete the 300 megawatt Rock Creak wind farm near Tarkio, Missouri by September 2017.
Like most wind farms, these are being built in rural areas, which can make it a challenge to transmit the power where it’s needed. Courtney Hughley, a spokesperson for KCP&L, says one advantage both projects have is that they're close to Kansas City.
“They’re going to connect direct to the Midwest Transmission Project transmission line that KCP&L also involved with, and that allows us to have easier delivery of the electricity throughout our region,” Hughley says.
Combined the two wind farms will be able to power 170,000 homes. While that’s a lot of energy, the wind turbines will be used to supplement KCP&L’s existing power plants, which rely heavily on coal, during peak times.
“The technology for wind and the technology for battery storage isn’t quite there yet, where we feel like we could use this to replace base load generation at bigger plants like Iatan,” says Hughley.
The 20-year-long agreements will also help KCP&L comply with Environmental Protection Agency and state regulations and have won praise from environmental groups.
“KCP&L is leading Missouri’s utility sector in its commitment to innovation and steady progress on clean energy,” Andy Knott, Senior Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club, wrote in a statement. “In the process, it is helping to turn Kansas City and Northwest Missouri into a hub of clean energy opportunity and development.”
KCP&L currently has the largest portfolio of renewable energy in Missouri.