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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Governor Laura Kelly Announces New Wind Energy Initiative

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

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.

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