NextEra Energy presented their progress for a second wind farm in Pratt County to the Pratt County Commissioners who will have the final approval for the project.

The next wind farm in Pratt County is on track for approval in early January 2018. Sam Massey, NextEra Pratt Wind Energy Farm project developer, presented an update on the project to the Pratt County Commissioners at their regular weekly meeting Oct. 30.

Massey said the next step in the project is submitting a special use application to the Planning and Zoning Board on Nov. 14. The board will review the application then hold a public board hearing on Dec. 18 where the plan will be presented to the public. At that time, the public is invited to address the Board with any issue, pro or con, about the project. If the board votes to accept the application, they will send it to the county commissioners for their final approval.

The county commission will also hold a public hearing for the wind farm and that is tentatively set for Jan. 8, 2018. If the commission approves the project, Massey said they want to start construction in April 2018 with delivery of turbines starting in June 2018. If construction goes as anticipated, The project would be completed in October 2018 with commercial operation starting in December 2018.

If approved, the Pratt Wind Energy Farm will be located in the southwest quadrant of Pratt County south of U.S. 54 and west of U.S. 281 with a few towers east of 281 as well.

The farm will have approximately 100 wind turbines that produce 230 megawatts of electricity that will be transmitted along a 15-mile 345 kV transmission line that runs from Pratt Wind to the Ninnescah Wind Energy project substation, Massey said.

This is a $300 million project, entirely on private land and no eminent domain or condemnation of land was employed. The project is expected to support over 250 jobs during construction including indirect jobs for gravel and cement supply, truck drivers, mechanics, professional and legal services. The construction will also bring in revenue for local retail merchants.

Over the 30-year life of the project, it is expected to produce about $50 million in payments to land owners, create 15-20 full time jobs with $30 million in salary and benefits plus a financial agreement with Pratt County.

Massey said NextEra has contributed to local charities in the community and plans on continuing those donations. Previous financial contributions have gone to United Way of Pratt County, USD 382, USD 438, South Central Community Foundation, Miss Kansas Pageant and the B-29 Bombers on the Prairie Museum.

In other commission activity, the commissioners approved a $35,600 bid from Integreen Services for cleaning and repairing heating and cooling registers in the courthouse. The bid doesn't include any carpentry work needed by sub-contractors. Due to the extreme number of variables involved within the proposed project, the job is offered as a plus or minus 10 percent format to protect both parties involved and to insure tax-paying citizens of Pratt County the best price available on the proposed job, said Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse.

A bid was also received from Eck Electric but the information was incomplete on the number of registers to be repaired and the total cost.

Sheriff Jimmy White said he had made arrangements with another county to house prisoners, if necessary, during construction.

Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor, wants to up grade the mower at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake. The current mower has a 48 inch cut and he wants to get a 60 inch cut deck. He will keep the commissioners informed on his search for the new mower.

Commissioner Glenna Borho abstained from discussion on the lawn mower matter.

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