The Wonders of Wind
Five Wind Farms Now Add to Missouri Electric Co-op Power Mix
Lost Creek Wind Farm
Wind is playing an increasingly larger role in generating the electricity used by electric cooperative members in Missouri.
Members of electric co-ops who are served by Associated Electric Cooperative are the beneficiaries of wind power generated by five wind farms in Missouri and Kansas. A sixth project located in Oklahoma is expected to add considerably to the mix soon.
On Feb. 10, the five projects set a new record for aggregate wind power production. During one hour, they reached 570 megawatts of electricity.
That same day, the five wind farms — Bluegrass Ridge and Lost Creek at King City, Conception in Nodaway County, Cow Branch at Rock Port and Flat Ridge near Kiowa, Kan. — produced 12 gigawatt-hours of electricity. To put that in perspective, the power generated that day equals the amount of energy 822 average-sized, single-family homes would use in a year.
Wabash Valley Electric, which provides power for Citizens Electric, also has 40 megawatts of wind power in its portfolio.
Associated Electric Cooperative made commercial-scale wind power in Missouri a reality when it agreed to buy the entire output of the Bluegrass Ridge Wind Farm, which became operational in 2007. The Conception and Cow Branch wind farms increased the total megawatts contracted to 150 when those wind farms began commercial operation in 2008.
Sunrise Over Lost Creek Wind Farm
The Lost Creek project, which came online in 2010, doubled that total. Continuing the trend toward larger projects, the Kansas-based Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm began its operation at the end of 2012 with 194 turbines. Associated contracted for 300 megawatts from this project.
When it begins operation, the next wind farm to supply electric cooperatives on the Associated system will be a more modest 150 megawatts from 94 turbines. The Osage Wind Farm is expected to come online in 2014.
At that point, wind will potentially provide the equivalent of the energy needed to power 181,000 member households, taking into account the intermittent nature of wind and the varying ways members use electricity.
Wind power — supplemented by fuel-based generation to ensure reliability — is an important component of the electric cooperative generation mix.
McCarty, Jim “The Wonders of Wind.” Rural Missouri June 2013: pg.4