By The Telegram
California-based Infinity Wind Power on Wednesday announced the acquisition of several wind projects in western Kansas.
In June 2012, Infinity acquired two Kansas projects under development in Ford, Gray and Finney counties from local developer Zephyr Wind Power, based in Cimarron. Earlier this month, Infinity finalized the purchase of the Pioneer Wind Project in Ford County from Clipper Windpower Development.
The two acquisitions combined have the potential to produce more than 1,500 megawatts of wind energy once fully operational, and bring Infinity's total development pipeline in western Kansas to more than 2,500 MW, according to Matt Riley, Infinity CEO.
"Kansas has been a strong leader nationally for the wind industry, and we hope that continues through the rest of the decade," Riley said. Riley said his company made the investments in anticipation of connecting to the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line, a high voltage direct current transmission line currently being developed by Clean Line Energy Partners.
The transmission line will collect 3,500 MW of low-cost wind energy from the central and southern plains and export that power to markets in Missouri, Indiana and points farther east, according to a press release from Infinity. The line represents nearly $2 billion in new direct investment in communities across four states.
Combined with approximately $5 billion of direct investment for the construction of new renewable energy facilities to supply energy for the line, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line will enable about $7 billion of direct investment in long-lasting infrastructure, resulting in more than 5,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs to the state of Kansas, a majority of which could be located in southwest Kansas, according to Riley.
Officials with the Finney County Economic Development Corp. were pleased with the news.
"It is exciting to see the transmission lines coming to fruition to make existing wind facilities more viable and to increase the opportunities for additional wind developments," Lona DuVall, FCEDC president, said. "This purchase demonstrates the vital role that western Kansas is playing and will continue to play in the future of wind generation for the nation."
The Grain Belt Express transmission line is scheduled to begin construction as early as 2015 and be energized in 2018. The wind projects in Finney, Ford, Gray and Hodgeman counties are scheduled to start construction by 2016 to ensure that they will be operational in 2018, when the energy is able to flow to those new markets.
Riley said Clean Line Energy and the Grain Belt Express Clean line transmission project have made tremendous progress recently.
"Infinity is positioning these wind projects to collectively provide renewable energy supply to address demand in markets farther east at a delivered cost far below what is available in those eastern markets" he said. "These projects are ready to go, and the communities hosting the development work to date have shown a great deal of support."
Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., Infinity Wind Power is a leader in wind energy development, focused on advancing quality wind projects through the development process. Based on a landowner advocacy approach, Infinity's primary goal is to identify and develop wind energy projects with a focus on partnership creation for long-term ownership. To learn more about Infinity Wind Power, please visit www.infinitywind.com.