February 11, 2009
Cowley College teams up to provide tour of Flat Ridge Wind Facility
Cowley College, Sumner County Economic Development and Cowley First teamed
up to provide members of the community a tour of the Flat Ridge Wind
Facility last Thursday.
The facility, located in Barber County, consists of 40 Clipper C-96 turbines each rated at 2.5 MW and is a partnership between Westar Energy and BP Alternative Energy. Over seven miles of transmission line were installed to move electricity to the electrical grid.
Bruce Crouse, Cowley College Executive Director of workforce development, noted 16 companies and 220 individuals were involved in construction and development of the site, which is located on land leases totaling more than 5,500 acres.
“State and National leaders are focusing on projects such as this as well as other alternative energy systems,” Crouse said. “Cowley and Sumner counties will benefit from this alternative energy source and I would like to be proactive with efforts in the community to promote new technologies and provide training as needed to support these efforts.”
Janis Hellard, director of the Sumner County Economic Development Commission (SCEDC) praised the work done by the project management team at the Flat Ridge Wind Facility.
“The purpose of the bus trip was to educate our citizens,” Hellard said. “Wind Farm developers have been looking in both Sumner and Cowley counties so we wanted to give our citizens the opportunity to actually see a wind farm and have their questions answered.”
Jason Speegle, Green Team Director at Southwestern College, thought the tour was beneficial and plans to take another tour of the facility in the future.
“There was so much great information and the wind turbines themselves were so impressive,” Speegle said. “I am an advocate of wind energy, and I feel that Kansas has a responsibility to use this vast resource to help our country limit its use of fossil fuels."
The City of Winfield sent two representatives on the tour, Doug Bliss from the Winfield Power Plant, and Winfield City Manager, Warren Porter.
“We are always interested in alternative power options, and are continually exploring options that will provide power in an economical and environmentally responsible manner,” Porter said. “Currently we offer wind energy in our portfolios.”
Bliss appreciated the information and opportunity to ask questions.
“It was very worthwhile and enlightening,” Bliss said.
Heidi Hill, Director of Cowley First – Cowley County’s Economic Development Partnership, said according to the American Wind Energy Association, Kansas’ wind potential ranks third nationally. Other sources rank both Cowley and Sumner Counties in the top-20 counties that would benefit from wind power.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about this alternative energy source for future application in our part of the state,” Hill said.