Operational and contributing to regional electric supply, just not in Pratt County homes, is the word from the newest Kansas wind establishment, Pratt Wind Energy Center.
Kansas’ newest wind farm, Pratt Wind Energy Center, is up and running in the southwest part of Pratt County. Ninety-eight Siemens Gamesa turbines and eight GE turbines, capable of generating 245 megawatts of electricity that can power 73,500 homes per year are in place and turning wind into electricity, according to Conlan Kennedy, Communication Specialist for NextEra Energy Resources. He said the rotor diameter of the Siemens Gamesa turbines is 108 meters. Each turbine weighs approximately 633,707 pounds.
Construction on the wind project lasted approximately seven months and was completed in November 2018. During construction, the project created 250 construction jobs in the area.
Now that the wind farm is operational, 12 full-time jobs are required for daily maintenance. Only one wind technician, Garrett Smith, is a Pratt resident working for Pratt Wind Energy Center. Wind technicians perform maintenance on wind turbines to ensure that all turbines are functioning at maximum efficiency.
Kennedy said that NextEra Energy Resources’ goal was to hire as many local workers as possible.
“We had a local job fair where we hired employees residing in Pratt and the surrounding areas,” Kennedy said. “Every member of the Pratt Wind team is a Kansas resident and the majority of employees are native Kansans.”
All of the power from the Pratt wind project is being sold to Great Plains Energy Incorporated, a holding company based in Kansas City, Missouri that owns electric utility Kansas City Power and Light Company and Strategic Energy, LLC, an energy management company.
Pratt Wind Energy Center, is considered a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, operator of seven Kansas wind projects and the world’s largest operator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun, according to Kennedy.
Kennedy said that construction on the newest Pratt County wind project lasted approximately seven months, and was completed in November 2018. During that time Kennedy said his company worked with landowners to reduce dissatisfaction with the positioning and placement of the wind turbines.
“NextEra Energy Resources worked with the community and landowners to ensure we selected the most appropriate sites for generating wind energy,” he said.
For nearly two decades, NextEra Energy Resources has partnered with Kansas to fuel economic growth, investing approximately $1.9 billion in the state. The Pratt Wind Energy Center is a $300 million dollar capital investment in Pratt County.