Sunflower Electric getting strong support in proposed plant’s home county

Holcomb 1, pictured above, is operating at 85 percent capacity. The Holcomb Station Project proposed by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation would add a second plant that would operate at 90 percent capacity.

? Sunflower Electric Power Corp. received overwhelming support for its coal-fired power plant Thursday during a public hearing in the county where it would be built.

Comments taken

The period for the public to comment on the proposed permit is open until Aug. 15. To submit comments by e-mail, send them to The mailing address is Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Air, Attn: Sunflower Comments, 1000 S.W. Jackson, Suite 310, Topeka, KS 66612-1366.

More than 100 people attended the hearing in Joyce Auditorium on the Garden City Community College campus. Almost all who spoke were in support of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment granting a permit for the project.

Sunflower Electric wants to build an 895-megawatt plant near Holcomb in Finney County. Most of the power would be used by Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association for out-of-state customers.

Eric Depperschmidt, president of the Finney County Economic Development Corp., said the project would help the local economy, and advance the development of wind energy through the construction of more transmission lines.

Earl Watkins, president and chief executive officer of Sunflower Electric, said granting the permit comes down to whether it complies with the law.

“This is about the rule of law, not the rule of whim,” he said. “We believe the application meets the rule of law.”

Environmentalists oppose the project, saying its carbon dioxide emissions will harm Kansans’ health and environment and contribute to climate change.

James Cottrell of Meade said, “Colorado won’t allow a new coal plant to be built in that state so they want Kansas to carry the load.”

One more public hearing will be conducted but a date and site haven’t been picked yet.