To save money, K-State partners with Westar Energy’s wind power program


Kansas State’s Manhattan campus is going green and saving money by switching to wind power.

An agreement with Westar Energy’s new Renewables Direct program allows large customers access to renewable energy at set long-term prices that will save K-State anywhere to $180,000 to $200,000 annually.

Under Westar Energy’s new Renewables Direct program, the price of energy will be 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for a fixed 20 years, replacing the current 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour that K-State currently pays, totaling around 113 million kilowatt-hours per year.

The power generated by Kansas’ most abundant resource, wind, will come from the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, a wind farm in Nemaha County, located northeast of Manhattan.

By 2020 K-State will get 50 percent, or 14 megawatts, of its energy from wind power.

Gary Weishaar, university manager of energy and controls, said the savings will come from a reduction in the retail energy cost adjustment. He also said the university is changing to be more efficient in other ways by switching to more energy-efficient LED lighting, a second cooling system on campus that was installed over the summer and replacing older technology with more sustainable products.

“Renewables Direct provides cost-effective access to Kansas’ excellent wind energy resources,” Chuck Caisley, senior vice president and public affairs and marketing chief customer officer at Westar Energy, said. “We appreciate K-State’s role in making the introduction of Westar’s new program a success. Westar applauds K-State’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions.”

K-State is only one of 14 organizations in Kansas that will get energy from the wind farm, and Westar Energy’s plan is structured to add more projects in the future to keep up with the demand for green energy.