Last week, Kansas legislative leaders toured the Gray County Wind Farm on the southwest Kansas plains as the facility nears two years of power production for Aquila electric customers in two states.Montezuma, Kansas – October 20, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The largest wind farm in Kansas has generated more than 655,000 MWh of electricity since FPL Energy completed construction of its facility in November 2001. Aquila has purchased all power produced at the wind farm and provides more than 90 percent of the supply to its Kansas and Missouri customers. “The partnership on this project has been an excellent one from the beginning,” said Rick Green, Aquila’s chairman and chief executive officer, told legislators. “The energy produced at the wind farm has been a viable piece of our overall power generation mix. Although coal and natural gas fuels are still the mainstays for generation, wind power provides environmentally friendly benefits for our customers.” Green also told legislators that the wind farm production has effectively replaced the equivalent of 389,000 tons of coal or 7.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas that would have been used for power generation. Approximately 50 legislators and staff members visited the wind farm as part of a biennial tour of the state by the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees. FPL Energy financed and constructed the 170-turbine wind farm on 12,000 acres of land about three miles east of Montezuma. The turbines have a combined generating capacity of 110 MW, which is enough to power 33,000 homes. Aquila’s 68,000 electric customers in Kansas and 285,000 in Missouri receive 100 MW of wind power, with the remaining 10 MW sold on the wholesale electric market. The wind farm provides 5.5 percent of total power consumed by Aquila customers in Kansas and 2.8 percent for Missouri customers. The company was the first to provide wind-generated power to residential customers in the two states. In recognition of the Gray County Wind Farm project, Aquila has received the Pollution Prevention Award from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Missouri Governor’s award for energy efficiency and pollution control. Aquila is also partner with other utilities in a small wind-generation project near Marysville, Kansas, and began providing wind power to its customers in Kansas and Missouri from this project in 1999.