Westar plans to buy 369 MW of wind power from two Kansas wind farms, expected to begin operating in late 2012; 20-year power purchase agreements will help Westar meet Kansas RPS

Yohana Valdez

Yohana Valdez

Feb 23, 2011 – Kansas Corporation Commission

TOPEKA, Kansas , February 22, 2011 (press release) – On November 10, 2010, Westar Energy, Inc. and Kansas Gas and Electric Company (collectively Westar) filed an application with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) for a determination of ratemaking principles and treatment that will apply to the recovery in rates of the costs to be incurred by Westar pursuant to power purchase agreements for the purchase of wind energy.
Public Hearing

The KCC has scheduled three public hearing sites to allow Westar customers the opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the application:

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
6 to 8 p.m.
Kansas Corporation Commission
1500 S.W. Arrowhead Road
Topeka, KS 66604

Or by video conference at:
WSU Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex Sudermann Commons, Room 132
5015 E. 29th North (Entrance C)
Wichita, KS 67220

K-State at Salina
College Center Conference Room
2310 Centennial Rd. (park/enter south side)
Salina, KS 67401

Westar customers unable to attend the public hearing are encouraged to submit comments to the KCC through March 18, 2011. Comments should reference Docket No: 11-WSEE-377-PRE and be e-mailed to: public.affairs@kcc.ks.gov, made over the phone at: 1-800-662-0027 or mailed to:
Kansas Corporation Commission Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection
1500 SW Arrowhead Road
Topeka, KS 66604-4027.

In the event State of Kansas offices in Topeka or Wichita are closed due to inclement weather, the public hearing may be canceled without further notice.

Additional Information Available

For more information about the proposed project, public hearing or evidentiary hearing, go to the Kansas Corporation Commission's web site at http://www.kcc.ks.gov/ or contact the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 1-800-662-0027.

Any person requiring special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act needs to give notice to the Commission at least 10 days before the scheduled hearing date.
Westar's Predetermination Request

In 2009, the Kansas Legislature adopted the Renewable Energy Standards (RES) Act. For calendar years 2011 through 2015, the RES Act requires each utility to serve its loads with renewable energy resources with a name plate capacity equal to 10 percent of the utility's average retail peak demand for the three preceding years. The RES requirement grows to 15 percent for calendar years 2016 through 2019 and to 20 percent for calendar years 2020 and thereafter.

To meet these standards, Westar estimates it needs a total of 1,000 MW of renewable generation in place by 2020. The company currently has 301 MW of renewable energy generation (295 MW by wind and 6MW by landfill gas), which means it will be required to add 700 MW (approximately) over the next 10 years as projected below:

    * 160 MW of renewable generation by July 1, 2011 (growing to 200 MW by 2015 as its average peak demand grows)
    * 260 MW by July 1, 2016
    * 270 MW by July 1, 2020

Westar proposes to enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 369 MW of wind generation with two site developers in Kansas in order to comply with the RES Act requirements. These agreements will have 20-year terms commencing when the projects are completed and placed into service. Westar anticipates the in-service date of the wind resources will be in the latter half of 2012.

Westar has asked the Commission to determine that:

   1. Westar's proposal to purchase 369 MW of wind generation is prudent;
   2. The 369 MW of wind generation Westar will acquire will be considered used and useful for the provision of service to Westar's customers;
   3. The costs associated with the purchase of this wind energy can be recovered through Westar's Retail Energy Cost Adjustment (RECA).

Westar estimates that if the PPAs are approved, the average retail customer would experience a rate increase of approximately 13 one-thousands of one cent per kWh, or approximately 1.7 percent.
Evidentiary Hearing

The evidentiary hearing in this matter is scheduled for March 30-31, 2011, at 9 a.m., in the First Floor Hearing Room at the Kansas Corporation Commission in Topeka, Kansas.

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