Prairie Wind power line energized

Utility Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America have energized about three-quarters of the double-circuit 345kV Prairie Wind transmission line in Kansas, a step toward easing grid congestion in the country’s wind-rich interior.

About 78 miles (125.5km) of the 108-mile line is moving electricity between Wichita and Medicine Lodge, Kansas. The remainder of the Prairie Wind project, which will take the line from Medicine Lodge south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter.

Through careful project planning and management, the estimated cost of the Prairie Wind line was lowered to $170m, about 25% less than original estimates of $225m.

The Prairie Wind line is part of a broader project commonly referred to as the Y-Plan.

Under this plan, OG&E will continue the Prairie Wind line from the Kansas/Oklahoma border to Woodward, Okla. ITC Great Plains is constructing a line from Medicine Lodge to a Clark County, Kan. substation and then to Spearville, Kan. All of the transmission line projects under the Y-Plan are scheduled to be complete by the end of this year.

Electric Transmission America is a joint venture of an American Electric Power subsidiary and MidAmerican Transmission, to build and own new electric transmission assets in Kansas.

Kansas and Oklahoma are among the top 10 US wind resource states, and governments in both support build-out of wind-related infrastructure.