Massive wind farm southwest of Wichita has official launch

THE HUTCHINSON NEWS • Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012

HARPER, Kan. | BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power officially have launched construction of the Flat Ridge 2 wind farm in Harper County.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Commerce Secretary Pat George joined representatives from the two companies on Wednesday to mark the occasion.

“The development of the Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm is an important component to achieving balance in our country’s energy production and revitalizing rural Kansas,” Brownback said in a press release. “Our state has a rich abundance of this home-grown, renewable energy and we are happy to add it to our list of Kansas export commodities alongside oil and natural gas, beef and wheat.”

Located on a 66,000-acre site about 40 miles southwest of Wichita, the wind farm represents a combined investment of more than $800 million and will have the capacity to produce 419 MW of electricity. The electricity produced will be sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Associated Electric Cooperative and Southwestern Electric Power Company, a unit of American Electric Power.

The Flat Ridge 2 project is projected to create some 500 jobs during construction and roughly 30 permanent jobs once the wind farm begins commercial operation. Upon completion, it will be the largest wind project in Kansas.