What is Prairie Wind Transmission, LLC?
Prairie Wind Transmission is a joint venture between Westar Energy and ETA.
Who is Westar Energy?
Westar Energy is Kansas’ largest electric utility. For more than a century, Westar has provided Kansans safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes. Westar serves nearly 700,000 customers. Westar has approximately 7,200 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates more than 34,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines. Westar employees live, volunteer and work in the communities they serve.
Who is Electric Transmission America?
Electric Transmission America, LLC is a joint venture between American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.
American Electric Power
is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, more than a 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
is a global leader in the production of energy from diversified fuel sources including geothermal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, coal and wind. The company also leads in the supply and distribution of energy in the U.S. and U.K. consumer markets, with approximately 8.4 million electricity and natural gas customers.
What is the Prairie Wind project?
Prairie Wind Transmission, LLC is constructing 108 miles of an extra-high-voltage 345-kV double-circuit transmission line linking an existing 345-kV substation near Wichita, Kansas to a new 345-kV substation northeast of Medicine Lodge, Kansas near the Flat Ridge I Wind Farm, and then south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border. The project will provide enhanced electric reliability in Kansas and support expansion of renewable electricity generation in the region.
What prompted this relationship between Westar Energy and ETA?
Both companies were exploring opportunities to expand the nation's transmission infrastructure as part of their overall business strategies. ETA has led the nation in the development of a national interstate transmission overlay using extra-high-voltage technology. Westar Energy has led the state of Kansas in the development of wind energy and new transmission projects. It was a natural fit for us to decide to work together. In keeping with the company's vision, ETA is working to:
Maintain its leadership in technical innovation of transmission systems;
Set the standards for transmission safety, efficiency and reliability;
Provide for robust market competition that will benefit customers by eliminating bottlenecks in the U.S. transmission grid; and
Reduce the need for new generation by facilitating the optimal economic dispatch of existing generation assets.
Who will own new assets that are built?
The companies have agreed to a 50-50 ownership of assets built as part of their joint-venture agreement.
Who will benefit?
This project will enable the tremendous wind resources in the western and southwestern part of Kansas to be delivered to customers throughout Kansas and the region at large. It also will provide economic benefits in terms of construction jobs, tax revenue and helping local economies near wind farm developments.
Who will provide the capital?
A typical utility capitalization structure is anticipated with the equity capital being contributed 50-50 by the joint-venture partners.
Who pays for transmission lines and facilities?
The Southwest Power Pool oversees the tariff that is the basis for transmission charges to customers. Because the project will benefit a broad region, the costs for the lines – based on the Southwest Power Pool's recently adopted Highway/Byway cost allocation methodology – should be recovered in the prices charged over that broad region, and not just from Kansas residents.
Who will build the lines and manage the Prairie Wind Transmission's affairs?
Westar Energy is providing project management services to Prairie Wind Transmission, which includes coordination of the engineering and construction of the new 345-kV transmission lines and facilities. Westar Energy also handles most of the new company's administrative affairs and leads its financing plans.
How much will Prairie Wind Transmission invest?
The total estimated investment for the 345-kV lines is $170 million.
Regulatory and Government Policy
Will Prairie Wind Transmission be a regulated or unregulated entity?
Prairie Wind Transmission is a Kansas regulated utility. It also is a member of the Southwest Power Pool. Prairie Wind Transmission’s transmission rates are approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Which regulatory bodies will have to approve the projects?
The Kansas Corporation Commission approved siting of the 345-kV project discussed above. Additionally, this project is part of the Southwest Power Pool’s long-term transmission planning.
What environmental impacts were considered with the siting of the projects?
Consistent with how Westar Energy operates in Kansas, Prairie Wind Transmission has adhered to all laws and regulations regarding siting of the projects and will continue to work with interested environmental groups to address any concerns they may have along the way.
How will Prairie Wind Transmission help environmental considerations?
In addition to supporting existing transmission needs in the region, the Prairie Wind Transmission projects will provide additional transmission capacity needed to enable development and operation of renewable electricity generation.
©2017 Prairie Wind Transmission.