Federal decision should help develop wind energy industry in Kansas

Costs to build transmission lines shared by utilities

? A new cost-sharing plan to build electric transmission lines should help develop wind energy in Kansas, officials said Thursday.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the new plan for the Southwest Power Pool region, which includes Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Under the new approach, the costs of expensive high-voltage transmission lines will be assigned to utilities on region-wide basis, while the costs of lower-voltage projects will be shared locally.

“Sharing costs and benefits of more transmission highways and byways will increase our ability to deliver lower-cost power to customers, allow us to make the most efficient use of the region’s diverse generating resources, and help us meet state and federal policy goals such as increased use of renewable energy,” said Nick Brown, the president and chief executive officer of SPP.

Lt. Gov. Troy Findley said the new cost-sharing plan will help bring the proposed V-Plan to fruition. The V-Plan is a 200 mile transmission project that will run from Spearville to Wichita and connect with another transmission line running into Oklahoma. It is projected to cost $356 million.

“Our administration will continue to work with all involved parties to move this important transmission project forward to ensure that Kansas unlocks our renewable energy potential,” Findley said.

Kansas has been cited as the second-windiest state in the nation.