Wind farm expansion begins

Judd Weil/Dodge City Daily Globe
Enel Green Power operates six wind farms in Kansas with plans to expand the current Cimarron Bend wind farm in the western part of the state. [Gale Rose/Gannett file photo]

CLARK COUNTY — Enel Green Power started construction on the 199-Megawatt expansion of the Cimarron Bend wind farm, on June 18.

At an investment of over $281 million, the 74 turbines expansion is set to increase the wind farm’s capacity from 400 MW to 599 MW, making it the largest wind farm in Enel’s North American portfolio.

“As Kansas’ wind leader, Enel Green Power is proud to step forward to generate new jobs and economic growth for Kansas during this challenging time,” said Georgios Papadimitriou, Head of Enel Green Power in the U.S. and Canada. “Most importantly, we remain firm in our commitment to protect the health and safety of our workers and host communities as we execute this expansion safely and sustainably.”

Construction on the expansion, is slated to be completed by the end of 2020.

The first two phases of Cimarron Bend’s expansion entered service in 2016 and 2017, involving an overall investment of over $891 million.

When the 199 MW addition is completed, Cimarron Bend will generate a total of more than 2.7 terawatt hours per year, allowing them to avoid the equivalent 1.8 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Electricity from a 150 MW part of the expansion is being sold under a 15-year bundled power purchase agreement with electric services company Evergy.

“As we continue implementing more renewable energy into our overall generation mix, Evergy is pleased to partner with Enel on this expansion project to add to our total wind capacity,” said Kevin Brannan, Evergy Manager of Products and Solutions, Renewable Sources. “This helps us reduce carbon emissions and increases our wind energy levels, which leads us toward more sustainable operations and ultimately benefits our customers.”

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, a Missouri Public Utility Alliance joint action agency, that supplies municipal power for more than 60 communities in Missouri and Arkansas, will purchase the output of a 30 MW portion of the project under a 12-year bundled PPA.

Enel Green Power operates six wind farms in Kansas, and the company’s overall investment in Kansas amounts to more than $2.1 billion and 210 full-time employees working in the state and with its’ acquisition of Tradewind Energy Inc. last year, makes them the largest wind operator with more than 1.4 GW of operational wind capacity.