Governor Laura Kelly Announces New Wind Energy Initiative


TOPEKA –Governor Laura Kelly today applauded the announcement of the new Renewables Direct initiative at Evergy.

“Renewable energy is good for the environment and the Kansas economy – particularly as we work to overcome COVID-19-related economic challenges,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Today’s announcement from Evergy is further showing Kansas’ position as a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of wind power.”

Renewables Direct provides long-term price stability and competitive pricing for local renewable energy to qualifying businesses, agencies, and commercial customers. As new customers enroll in the program, Evergy will expand its renewable energy sources to continue to meet sustainability goals. The company has announced that more than 50 organizations have started receiving energy from two area wind farms this month.

According to Evergy, the wind projects created approximately 450 jobs during the construction phase. The projects promise to provide approximately $74 million in guaranteed payments to the county governments over its projected 30-year operational life and approximately $86 million in payments to local landowners.

“This is an exciting development in wind energy, and it’s especially exciting to see this program in Kansas,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Not only is wind energy production good for the environment, it’s a major investment for future businesses in our state. Wind energy employs thousands of Kansans and fuels our state’s economy. I look forward to the important benefits Renewables Direct will bring for the businesses and people of our state.”

Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, a 300-megawatt wind farm in north-central Kansas, and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center, a 200-megawatt wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, are beginning service in November and will provide energy for customers of Evergy’s Renewable Direct program and to McPherson Board of Public Utilities. Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center and Ponderosa Wind Energy Center are subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

“Kansas is a leader in wind energy,” Evergy President and CEO Terry Bassham said. “The expansion of wind energy in our area brings economic investment and jobs to communities near wind farms and affordable, clean energy to our customers.”

In 2019, wind energy accounted for 41 percent of our state’s electricity production, making Kansas the second-highest producer of wind energy as a share of total electricity generation in the U.S. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the development of wind farms in Kansas has brought more than $11 billion in capital investment and created more than 5,000 jobs. Each year, project-related payments exceeding $60 million are paid to state and local governments and in lease payments.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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