- Associated Press - Sunday, November 18, 2018

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University officials estimate that half of the Manhattan campus will be powered by wind by 2020.

University officials announced on Tuesday a new agreement with Missouri-based Westar Energy, the Kansas City Star reported. The Kansas City electric utility will cover half of the campus’ energy needs, saving up to $200,000 per year.

Kansas State’s new power source will come from Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, a 300-megawatt wind farm northeast of Manhattan in Nemaha County. It’s projected to be operational by 2020.

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The agreement locks the university into fixed rates that are cheaper than its electricity bill rates for about 20 years. Kansas State currently pays 2.3 centers per kilowatt-hour, but the new plan will freeze costs at 1.8 cents.

The university consumes about 113 million kilowatt-hours per year.

Gary Weishaar, university manager of energy and controls, said the move wasn’t just about cost-savings, but part of ongoing sustainability efforts that are important to students.

“That’s the number one question they ask . about renewables,” Weishaar said. “They care about climate change, global warming and renewable energy.”

The university also has plans to transition to more energy-efficient LED lighting and replace dated technology with more sustainable products.

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