Electric co-op members continue to diversify electric generation resources
Hays, Kan.—February 27, 2018—Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc., along with its sister company Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, announced its plan to purchase renewable energy from a 20-megawatt solar project scheduled for construction in southwest Kansas. The cooperatively operated wholesale generation and transmission utility has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Lightsource BP, an independent power producer that will build, own and operate the solar facility.
Kansas Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann and dignitaries from Mid-Kansas, Lightsource BP and NRCO attended the event held at Mid-Kansas’ headquarters.
“Kansans have a long history of capitalizing on opportunities that make the most of our abundant resources,” said Lt. Gov. Mann. “Gov. Colyer and I congratulate Mid-Kansas, Lightsource BP, and NRCO on their successful collaboration to construct what will be the largest solar project in Kansas. The Johnson Corner Solar Project illustrates a commitment to renewable energy resources that compliment dispatchable energy resources.”
Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in early 2019.
“Harnessing the power of the sun is not a new concept. The economics are what have changed,” said Steve Epperson, Mid-Kansas chairman of the board. “The decreasing cost of photovoltaic technology, along with other industry dynamics, makes it the right time to bring solar energy into our generation mix.”
The Mid-Kansas Board of Directors has championed a diverse energy generation portfolio to meet the needs of its six member owners and the thousands of Kansans they serve.
“Each generation fuel type has advantages, and the benefits of solar will add diversity to our existing energy generation portfolio,” said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Mid-Kansas and Sunflower. “Along with other benefits, this solar facility will generate energy during our summer peak demand, providing protection against high market prices during times of increased energy demand.”
The facility, to be located on 241 acres near Johnson, Kan., will have a nameplate capacity of 20 megawatts and will produce approximately 55,500 megawatt hours annually, comprising one percent of the Mid-Kansas and Sunflower combined-system’s energy. The project’s location was selected not only for its strong generating potential, but also because placing a generating facility at the location will reduce loading on an existing transmission line that is operating near its full capacity, thus deferring or eliminating a costly transmission upgrade that would otherwise be needed in the near future.
“We are delighted to team up with Mid-Kansas and Sunflower to deliver this landmark project,” said Lightsource BP’s North America Chief Commercial Officer Katherine Ryzhaya. “It is energizing to see solar be both a cost-effective power resource and a viable alternative to costly infrastructure upgrades. This project is a win-win for the ratepayers of western Kansas.”
The National Renewable Cooperative Organization (NRCO), with its member-owner Mid-Kansas, jointly developed the project and sourced Lightsource BP as Mid-Kansas’ long-term partner.
“NRCO is pleased to have helped another one of its electric cooperative owners develop and contract solar capacity for its portfolio,” said Eric Spigelman, director of renewables development. “Johnson Corner solar is a shining example of how a partnership approach can create significant value. NRCO applauds Mid-Kansas and Lightsource BP on their transaction.”
“Electric cooperatives were formed by the people and for the people; focusing on their energy needs remains our primary mission,” said Corey Linville, vice president, power supply and delivery for Mid-Kansas and Sunflower. “The Mid-Kansas and Sunflower Boards of Directors are both visionary and pragmatic when making decisions to provide our members with reliable energy at the lowest possible cost. The Johnson Corner Solar Project is just one more innovative way to accomplish that.”
About Mid-Kansas Electric Company, Inc.
Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc., a wholesale generation and transmission supplier, is a coalition of five rural electric cooperatives and one wholly owned subsidiary that serve approximately 200,000 Kansans throughout 33 counties. Mid-Kansas’ members include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative Inc., Dighton; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative Inc., Norton; Southern Pioneer Electric Company, Ulysses; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc., Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc., WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Scott City, Kan. For more information, please visit the Mid-Kansas website at www.midkansas.net.
About Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, established in 1957, is a regional wholesale generation and transmission supplier dedicated to serving its members by providing reliable power at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound business and cooperative practices. Sunflower’s member cooperatives include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative Inc., Dighton; Pioneer Electric Cooperative Inc., Ulysses; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative Inc., Norton; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc., Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc., WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Scott City, Kan. www.sunflower.net.
About Lightsource BP
With more than 2GW of operating assets, Lightsource BP is a market leader in the development, acquisition and long-term management of large-scale solar and storage projects. Projects are designed to generate competitively priced, dependable clean energy for cooperative, municipal, investor-owned utilities and large energy consumers. Lightsource BP has offices throughout the United States and has recently formed a strategic partnership with BP to support its mission to drive cost-effective solar deployments globally. For more information, please visit the Lightsource BP website at www.lightsourcebp.com.
About National Renewables Cooperative Organization
Formed in 2008 by 21 cooperatives, NRCO aims to increase access to cost-effective renewable energy resources for electric cooperatives around the country. NRCO provides full origination and development services for its owner-members and cooperative customers, with nearly one gigawatt of wind and solar projects completed to date including 45 cooperative-run community solar farms. For more information see www.nrco.coop.