Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Announces Additional Wind Contract
Kansas City BPU, and OwnEnergy Inc., a developer of Mid-sized Wind projects, announced today that they have signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), for 25 megawatts (MW), generated by the 50 MW Alexander Wind Farm. The project is being developed as a result of the partnership between OwnEnergy Inc. and the Bannister Family, who have been farming and ranching in Rush County for over 100 years. The community-scale project will create local jobs and economic growth for members of the community.
The contract between BPU and OwnEnergy Inc. is a 20-year renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). It is anticipated that energy will be available to BPU in October 2015. The wind-generated energy purchased will help supplement BPU’s base-load generation produced by the utility’s two power plants.
The project is to be located south of Alexander, KS, and will tie into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Midwest Energy transmission system. The total value of expected revenue over the 20-year period is estimated to be $150 M.
Jacob Susman, Founder and CEO of OwnEnergy, said, “This is an exciting milestone for OwnEnergy, the Bannister family, the local community and Kansas City BPU. It’s an important step in building a secure, clean, and economical energy future for Kansas and for the country. BPU has once again shown true leadership, demonstrating that power generation can be environmentally friendly at the same time as being cost-effective.”
Approximately 17 landowners are involved in the project, including the local partner, Bannister Wind Ranch. The project will bring approximately 150 full-time equivalent jobs during construction, as well as 5 permanent on-site jobs during the project’s operation. In addition to the jobs created by the project, Rush County will receive more than $1.6 million in direct payments, and those local farmers and ranchers who lease land to the project can expect over $7.3 million over the life of the project.
Ted Bannister, a co-developer of the project, explained why he got involved. “My family has farmed this land for over 100 years. My ancestors and their neighbors pulled sod off the earth to build houses and stone to build fences, they coaxed crops and livestock to multiply. Now, we have the chance to produce "homegrown" electricity, from those same winds that blew across my great granddad’s fields. It makes me proud to harness this resource. Being a part of this wind project meant contributing to the development efforts on site, in this neighborhood where the turbines will stand for the next 100 years. It meant selling my neighbors on this opportunity, and holding the development company to the local values that they would treat my neighbors fairly and protect their investment in this place. This wind energy project will add value to this country that will stand for multiple generations. It means turning that wind that harasses us interminably into an asset that will create jobs, pay rents and make electricity for years to come. I am thrilled for Rush County."
With the addition of the PPA from the Alexander Wind Farm, BPU will have wind energy equal to 10% of its peak demand and 22% of its peak in renewables when this wind farm goes online with total renewables at 110 MW at that time. This exceeds the state’s renewable energy standard which currently requires electric utilities to have at least 10% of their peak demand from renewable resources through 2015, 15% in 2016 and 20% beginning in 2020.
Joe Jarsulic, Director of Electric Supply Planning for BPU, discussed the benefits of this wind power agreement including favorable pricing, contract terms and that the project is in Kansas. “It is a long-term agreement at a fixed price, and in turn will save the ratepayers money.” Jarsulic estimates that this agreement will save BPU ratepayers an average of $900,000 per year over the 20 year term.
OwnEnergy is the national leader in community scale wind energy development that enables landowners and communities to build and profit directly from their own local wind farms. The Company works in partnership with its nationwide network of energy entrepreneurs to develop the approximately 1,700MW of community-scale wind farms in its pipeline. OwnEnergy has a breakthrough business model for the profitable and capital-efficient development of these midsize wind farms that involves local ownership and proprietary development systems. The power of the company’s business model is proven by the 240MW of community scale wind it has already successfully developed. OwnEnergy is based in Brooklyn, New York and is active in nineteen US states. For more information about OwnEnergy visit www.ownenergy.net.
BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 63,000 electric and 50,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.