Kansas utilities to cooperate on V-Plan project

HAYS, KANSAS - Mid-Kansas Electric Company (Mid-Kansas) and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation (Sunflower) have reached an agreement with ITC Great Plains LLC (ITC Great Plains) designating ITC Great Plains to build two of the three sections that will comprise the proposed Kansas V-Plan transmission project.

ITC Great Plains will build two sections of the Kansas V-Plan. The first section is a transmission line from Spearville, Kan., to Comanche County, Kan., and the second section is a transmission line from Comanche County to Medicine Lodge, Kan. The V-Plan will be constructed at 765-kV if deemed appropriate by Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP). Construction of the project is subject to needed state certificate and siting approvals, the resolution of cost recovery and cost allocation issues, and obtaining lender consent.

As part of the agreement, Mid-Kansas and Sunflower have offered Westar Energy (Westar) an opportunity to build the third section of the Kansas V-Plan, a transmission line that will run from Medicine Lodge to Sedgwick County, Kan., terminating just outside Wichita, Kan. Westar operates a service territory that overlaps portions of the third section. In the offer, Westar would build a segment of the V-Plan outside their service territory. Should Westar elect not to participate, ITC Great Plains is committed to building any portion of the third section.

"We are committed to meeting the energy needs of our members. This agreement with ITC will assist us as we continue to achieve that goal," said Earl Watkins, president and CEO of Mid-Kansas and Sunflower. "We are proud to work with ITC in a project that will enhance the reliability and affordability of energy to our members and allow the import and export of energy, while promoting further development of renewable resources, including wind, in western Kansas and the entire region. We hope Westar will join in the endeavor."

"This agreement is a revolutionary approach and a major milestone in the quest to build a 21st-century transmission grid in Kansas," said Carl Huslig, ITC Great Plains president. "ITC, Mid-Kansas, and Sunflower believe that collaboration is an excellent model for building crucial infrastructure. The winners will be Kansans, who will benefit from a robust transmission grid that will increase reliability, lower costs, provide equal access to energy and further wind energy development.

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, a strong proponent of improving the transmission system between eastern and western Kansas, and an organizer of five annual transmission summits in Kansas, said, "I am pleased to see the development of this essential transmission construction. These projects are necessary to ensure not only that all Kansans have reliable energy, but also that Kansas can export energy to meet national needs."

The Kansas V-Plan is a 180-mile high-voltage transmission line that will run southeast from Spearville, Kan., to Comanche County, Kan., then toward Medicine Lodge, Kan., and then northeast to terminate in Sedgwick County, just outside Wichita, Kan. The V-Plan has been included in the Southwest Power Pool's Transmission Expansion Plan and is the largest electric infrastructure project to be proposed in Kansas in nearly 25 years.


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