In 2001 FPL Energy (now NextEra Energy resources) began construction on Kansas’ first wind farm, the Gray County wind farm in Montezuma. The 170-turbine farm is capable of generating 112 megawatts (MW) of commercial electricity.
The farm produced an average of 362,690-kilowatt hours of energy per year in its first 10 years.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average annual energy consumption for U.S. households was 11,496-kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2010.
Wind farm construction in Kansas has grown considerably over the past 11 years.
From 2001 to 2006, there were three commercial wind farms constructed in the Sunflower State. The 112MW Gray County wind farm in 2001, a 150MW Elk River wind farm in 2005 and a 100MW Spearville wind farm in 2006.
These three wind farms are located in the western and central region of the state.
From 2007 to 2012 there were more than fourteen fully operation, under construction or proposed wind farms in Kansas.
In 2008 the 12,000-acre Smokey Hills wind farm, currently the largest wind farm in Kansas went on-line, producing approximately 250MW of power with 155 total turbines.
The potential total energy produced by current wind farms is about 2,500MW.
According to the Institute for Energy Research, wind power currently makes up about 5 percent of energy production in the state.
In 2009 a joint venture between the City of Greensburg, Excelon Wind LLC and Native Energy produced the ten turbine, 12.5MW Greensburg Windfarm.
The $23 million dollar project was supplemented by a $17 million dollar USDA Agricultural Rural Development loan.
The energy created by the turbines is sent to eastern Kansas. Greensburg is not technically powered by the wind farm, but instead accrues “credits” for wind that is produced by the farm.
Currently Santa Barbara, Calif.-based developer Infinity Wind Power is constructing the Shooting Star Windfarm on 11,000 acres just south of Mullinville.
The project, proposed to use 42 2.4MW wind turbines, will be capable of producing nearly 105MW of wind energy.
Mid-Kansas Electric Co., part of Sunflower Electric, entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Infinity Wind last September.
Sunflower projected an estimated $10 million dollars in royalty payment and over 250,000 construction hours over the life of the farm.