BP to Build Massive Wind Farm in Kansas, Small Wind Could Triple

BP’s Wind Energy subsidiary announced this week that it plans to build an $800 million, 419 megawatt (MW) wind farm spread across 66,000 acres in four counties in Kansas.

BP says construction on the Flat Ridge 2 wind farm will begin this year and be completed by fall 2012, creating 500 construction jobs and 30 permanent wind jobs.

BP will pay more than $1 million a year for 20 years to 200 landowners from whom the company leased property for the turbines, and about the same amount to local governments.

"Economically, it’s very significant," says Carol Voran, a county commissioner in Kingman County. Kansas in an interview with the the Wichita Eagle. "The financial impact of the lease payments and the jobs will be sizable in a sparsely populated county."

The wind farm will be BP’s second in Kansas. It owns and operates the 50 MW Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in Barber County, Kansas.

John Graham, BP Wind Energy CEO, commends Kansas for its pro-wind business climate, and Republican Governor Sam Brownback says that extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) is "key for the state of Kansas if we want to continue to develop wind energy." The PTC is set to expire at the end of 2012.

Gov. Brownback touts wind and other renewable energies as one of the state’s best economic development opportunities.

Keeping the tax credit, which has been targeted by many tax-cutting conservatives in Congress, is critical to spurring new wind farms in Kansas, Brownback told Wichita Eagle.

"It really buys down the price of the wind power. It’s key for the state of Kansas if we want to continue to develop wind energy," he continues. Although the costs and prices of wind are falling as the industry grows and technology improves, it’s not competitive yet.

"There’s a sort of cliff that we fall off at the end of 2012. With the expiration of the PTC there is likely no wind development in 2013," he says.

A Congressional Research report just released also recommends that Congress act swiftly to extend the wind tax credit.

Small Wind Set to Triple by 2015

The US still leads the world in producing small wind turbines, and that market is expected to triple by 2015, according to new Pike research. 

Small wind has been growing by just 50 MW a year around the world, but two-thirds of those systems are manufactured in the US. 95% of small turbines sold in the US market are manufactured domestically, says the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

If the industry grows to 152 MW a year, as Pike predicts, installed costs will fall from $5.40 per watt today to $4.10 per watt in 2015.

In 2010, the market for small wind turbines under 100 kW rose 26%, to $139 million in US sales. Here too, the extension of Investment Tax Credits to small wind supported this growth.

Power generation from small wind turbines is an increasingly important part of the broader market for renewable distributed energy generation, says the report. Small wind provides cost-effective electricity on a highly localized level, both in remote settings as well as in conjunction with power from the utility grid. 

Read the report:

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Comments on “BP to Build Massive Wind Farm in Kansas, Small Wind Could Triple”

  1. patricio

    how can I get work with you on these projects I have experience erecting these and would travel today if work was available I am an Ironworker and climbing is no problem. Please contact me if possible at my e-mail


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