Sunflower takes a cost-biased approach in its utilization of electric generation resources. A cost-biased approach to power production results in more affordable energy for our Members, which, in turn, helps to spur economic growth in the areas served by our Members.
Coal, accounts for 53.1 percent of Sunflower’s generation portfolio. Coal is an abundant domestic source of fuel, with U.S. reserves estimated to last for the next 261 years*. Learn more about Sunflower’s coal source.
Natural gas comprises approximately 38.95 percent of the Sunflower’s generation portfolio. Natural gas is also an abundant fuel source available within the United States and remains an affordable means to power central and western Kansas. Learn more about Sunflower’s natural gas facilities.
Accounting for approximately 7.61 percent of Sunflower’s generation portfolio is wind. Sunflower does not own or operate wind farms; however, it buys wind energy through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from Smoky Hills Wind Farm, located in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties.
Hydro represents the remaining .35 percent of the Sunflower generation mix. Sunflower receives hydro energy through a PPA through Western Area Power Administration.
Sunflower’s fuel diversity protects it from unforeseen shifts within the fuel market and allows Sunflower to provide affordable and reliable energy to those we serve.
The delivery of electrical power requires a robust transmission grid within the Sunflower operating footprint. Sunflower owns and operates 115 kV and 345 kV transmission lines across more than 1,200 miles in 32 Kansas counties.
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission operator to which Sunflower belongs, launched the Integrated Marketplace (IM) in March of 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to provide SPP members with a robust wholesale energy market.
The IM, which builds on the Energy Imbalance Service market that SPP launched in 2007, consists of complex tools and processes designed to maximize cost-effective power delivery while simultaneously protecting grid reliability and relieving transmission congestion. SPP’s shift to the IM included an allowance for region-wide balancing of power supply and demand. The IM starts and dispatches the most cost-effective power generation resources to meet electric demand at any given time while ensuring that grid reliability is maintained. This revolutionary change in power delivery protocol is expected to save millions within the SPP 14-state region.
As an IM market participant, Sunflower buys all of the energy required to meet customer demand from the market and sells energy to the market from its generating resources. The revenue earned from selling energy to the market from Sunflower’s generators helps offset the cost of energy used to meet Sunflower’s demand. The IM also includes provisions to ensure transmission owners, such as Sunflower, retain the value associated with their transmission assets. All IM transactions are made a day in advance based on our system’s estimated demand and offer information associated with our generating resources. The day-ahead transactions are then trued-up in real time based on actual energy flows. What results is an integrated system of supply and demand that ultimately means a more efficient and cost-effective use of all the assets within the SPP footprint.