2 Kansas wind farms are now operating

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KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) — Two wind farms in central Kansas are now online and supplying electricity to Westar Energy.

The farms came online within the last two weeks, even though a civil lawsuit seeking an injunction against one of them is still pending, the Hutchinson News reported.

Westar Energy said the 120-turbine Kingman and 121-turbine Ninnescah Wind Energy Centers, owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, are supplying the state’s largest electric utility with about 400 megawatts of new power. The company said the two facilities are bringing about $800 million in investment and local payments to the area, as well as 23 jobs in Kingman and Pratt counties.

Westar will also add another 280 megawatts of wind energy next year from Western Plains Wind Farm in Ford County.

A federal lawsuit seeking restraining orders against the Ninnescah wind farm is awaiting completion of a 60-day notification period before proceeding. Former Pratt County Zoning Commission member Edwin Petrowsky filed the suit in November, saying the farm poses a risk to endangered whooping cranes and the failure of NextEra to obtain a special permit would allow it to kill a certain number of birds in a given time.

While the wind farms are in the whooping cranes’ flyway, company officials said the cranes fly higher than the towers, which stand at 135 feet. NextEra said it will monitor the birds flying through the site for one year, as a condition of its permit.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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