Wind Power of Santa Barbara, Calif., indicated it plans to start
construction on the projects sometime around 2016, with completion timed
to tie in to the massive direct-current transmission line as it becomes
operational in 2018.
"This is a pretty significant investment in
the future success of the wind industry in western Kansas," said
Infinity Wind Power CEO Matt Riley.
In June, Infinity Wind
acquired two projects under development in Ford, Gray and Finney
counties from local developer Zephyr Wind Power, of Cimarron. Then
earlier this month, the company finalized its purchase of the Pioneer
Wind Project in Ford County from Clipper Windpower Development.
three acquisitions combined have the potential to produce more than
1,500 megawatts of wind energy once fully operational, Riley said.
acquisitions bring Infinity's total development pipeline in western
Kansas to over 2,500 MW," Riley said. "We are making these investments
in western Kansas in anticipation of future transmission-line
infrastructure reaching the region. Kansas has been a strong leader
nationally for the wind industry, and we hope that continues through the
rest of the decade."
Another Infinity project already in the region is the 750 MW Western Plains wind project, also in Ford County.
purchases, Riley explained, include land leases, wind-monitoring
towers, and permitting and environmental work that's already been done
on the proposed projects.
"We're buying the rights to do the
installation, through land contracts," he said. "We continue to do
development work necessary to get the projects into construction and
into operation. ... We haven't changed anything in terms of the design
Zephyr originally created."
Infinity plans to connect the projects
to the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line, a high-voltage
direct-current transmission line Clean Line Energy Partners is
developing. That line will collect some 3,500 MW of wind energy from the
central and southern plains and export the power to markets in
Missouri, Indiana and points farther east.
"We have noted
tremendous progress recently by Clean Line Energy and the Grain Belt
Express Clean Line transmission project," Riley said, including
achieving "utility status" in several states the line will pass through,
finalization of some proposed routes and community engagement starting
"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. These projects are ready to go and the
communities hosting the development work to date have shown a great deal
Infinity Wind has a history of successful wind development in western Kansas, having developed the 167 MW Ironwood Wind Farm, which it then sold to Westar Energy and is now operated by Duke Energy, and the 105 MW Shooting Star wind farm near Mullinville, which it sold to Exelon Corp.
Nationally, the company owns more than 4,000 MW of wind development, Riley said.
The reason for the sale of the previous Kansas projects, Riley explained, was to bring in investor capital.
the case of Shooting Star, that was in the neighborhood of $150
million," he said. "That's not Infinity's role, to provide capital. We
need financial institutions or large energy companies to bring that to
Infinity has not yet lined up capital for the pending western Kansas projects, which will be done closer to construction.