Sunflower Electric seeks new ethanol partner

? Sunflower Electric Power Corp. is seeking a replacement partner to build an ethanol plant in southwest Kansas as part of its proposed integrated bioenergy center.

The Scoular Co. had planned to construct the plant that would produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year. Sunflower wants the ethanol plant built at the same site where it plans to construct some coal-powered plants.

Now Scoular is looking for another location to build an ethanol facility, and Sunflower is looking for another company to build the plant it wants. The ethanol plant would be part of Sunflower’s proposed bioenergy center, which would reuse and convert waste products into renewable energy, including methane and ethanol.

Omaha-Neb.-based Scoular considers the bioenergy center a great project, said Randy Hellerich, Scoular’s director for renewable fuels development, but that the integrated nature of the center created development challenges the company couldn’t overcome.

“We have enjoyed our work together but believe it is in everyone’s best interest for Scoular to find a different site that more closely meets their needs,” said Clare Gustin, Sunflower’s vice president for member services and external affairs.

Finney County is working with Scoular to find another location in southwest Kansas that would meet those needs, said Eric Depperschmidt, president of the Finney County Economic Development Corp.

Sunflower spokesman Steve Miller said the Hays-based company would continue searching for a partner that could work within the bioenergy center’s integrated style. He said the corporation had several companies interested in the project.

Miller said it was the uniqueness of the project that led both Sunflower and Scoular to decide to go in a different direction.