By - Jim Vess

Evergy sets goal of 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions and an increase in wind power

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020

Evergy Inc., which serves Kansas and Missouri, has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 and announced plans to add 660 megawatts (MW) of wind power.

The company said that it will reach a 40 percent reduction in emissions from the 2005 benchmark by 2020 and that its goal is “consistent” with the Paris Climate Accord.

Evergy was formed by the merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, which operates Kansas Power & Light.

Neither Missouri nor Kansas have state carbon reduction targets. Both have modest renewable energy portfolio standards. Kansas’ goal is 20 percent renewable energy generation by 2020 and Missouri’s is 15 percent by 2021.

By comparison Washington State has a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045 and New York State a goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.

Evergy said in its statement that it will retire all its coal-fired plant at the end of their useful lives, which runs between 2040 and 2050, with the exception of the 800-MW Iatan 2 plant in Missouri, which went online in 2010.

The utility said it would operate its Wolf Creek Nuclear Station until its license expires in 2045 and continue making investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Evergy said it would consider adding a small amount of natural gas generation if “additional carbon-free generation is not available within the plan’s timeframe.”

“Reducing carbon emissions and increasing the amount of wind energy on our system benefits our customers by reducing operating costs and by making our operations more environmentally sustainable,” Terry Bassham, Evergy CEO, said in a statement. “This represents a significant investment in the state of Kansas.”

The planned 660 MW of new wind capacity would bring Evergy’s total wind capacity to 4,535 MW, putting the utility among the top five wind energy companies in the U.S., the company said.

The four new wind projects are:

  • The 199-MW Expedition Wind project being developed by National Renewable Solutions in Marion County, Kan.
  • The 128-MW Flat Ridge 3 project being developed by AEP Renewables near Kingman, Kan.
  • The 193-MW Jayhawk Wind being developed by Apex Clean Energy in Crawford and Bourbon Counties, Kan., with Evergy purchasing power from 155 MW of the site.
  • The 178-MW Ponderosa Wind project being developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Resources, LLC, south of Liberal, Kan., in Oklahoma.

Evergy said it plans to use the additional wind energy as an economic development tool to attract manufacturers and technology companies who are seeking cost-effective, sustainable and carbon-free energy.

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