- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas electric utility provider has contracted with a company to construct a 280-megawatt wind farm in Ford County.

The Hutchinson News (https://bit.ly/1IqJpit ) reports that Westar Energy chose Infinity Wind Power to build the more than $400 million Western Plains Wind Farm.

Construction is expected to start in late spring or early summer. Infinity will build the farm and then turn it over to Westar. Officials hope to have the farm completed by the end of 2016 or by early 2017.

The project will use parts, including rotors, manufactured at Siemens’ Hutchinson plant, as well as 108-meter blades from the company’s Iowa-based manufacturing facility.

The utility says the wind farm will bring its renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,500 megawatts.

According to Westar, the Ford County project will include land lease royalties paid to local landowners and payments to local and county government of about $75 million during the first 20 years of operation.

Utility officials say the project will create more than 200 construction jobs and three dozen permanent jobs.

Westar also plans to pursue an additional 200 megawatts of wind energy with an option to own 50 percent of that energy.

Wester Energy spokeswoman Gina Penzig said “Both these projects come out of a recent request for proposals issued this past fall.”

The utility hopes to be able to disclose details on the second project by the end of the year.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com

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