Kelly launches massive cross-Kansas wind energy project

Gov. Laura Kelly touted job creation, opportunities to expand wind farming and potential savings for ratepayers Wednesday with construction of an electric transmission line to move power from western Kansas to consumers in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

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October 1, 2020 - 9:16 AM

A wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains near Mojave, Calif. Photo by (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly touted job creation, opportunities to expand wind farming and potential savings for ratepayers Wednesday with construction of an electric transmission line to move power from western Kansas to consumers in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

She joined transmission developer Invenergy to outline benefits of Grain Belt Express, which is a 780-mile project designed to transfer 4,000 megawats of wind-powered electricity from the rural plains to population centers. The project has been mired in legal and political battles, but could alleviate a shortage of transmission capacity in Kansas needed for delivery of its abundant wind resource.

Kelly said the project would create in Kansas an estimated 22,500 temporary jobs during the three-year construction and nearly 1,000 permanent jobs as the system went online. She said Kansans would earn $1.6 billion in salary during construction and $54 million annually when operational.

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