A map of the approve route can be found here.
The Y Plan transmission project is intended to improve the region's electric grid by integrating eastern and western areas, and by facilitating the addition of renewable generation into the electric grid.
The line developed by Prairie Wind Transmission will travel 110 miles, as part of the larger project that it is referred to as the Y-Plan. It will begin near Colwich, Kansas; connect to Medicine Lodge, and then continue south to the Kansas-Oklahoma border.
The approved route avoids the ecosystem of the Red Hills, which is home to a number of sensitive species, including the lesser prairie chicken and a number of bat species.
After receiving approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in late June, Prairie Wind Transmission will now begin working with landowners in order to acquire easements in July and August of 2011. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2012 once easements have been acquired.
Prairie Wind anticipates that the project will be complete by the end of 2014. The portion of the project that runs from Wichita to Medicine Lodge was energized in the summer of 2014.
The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is the regulatory body that has to approve the siting of the transmission line, requiring a Certificate of Convenience and Public Necessity.
Prairie Wind Transmission has received approval to operate as a utility in Kansas, and in late June KCC approved the route that was filed by Prairie Wind, with modifications from some landowners who provided public input.
In addition, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has approved the project and will be providing subsequent guidance on the project voltage as planning and development continue.
Prairie Wind has commissioned an engineering study and held a series of public meetings in order to determine the best route for the line. There were a number of alternative routes suggested by landowners that also factored into the planning process.
Earlier in the planning stages, Prairie Wind considered a route that did pass through the Red Hills; but this route was eventually rejected as a result of concerns expressed by wildlife agencies, environmental groups, and landowners about the line's potential impact on sensitive species, as well as future costs for environmental remediation.
Clean Energy Potential:
Prairie Wind Transmission says that the project is a vital step in moving to develop a strong transmission system in the Midwest that will allow Kansas to export its renewable resources to other regions.
Cost of high-voltage lines for wind irks utilities July 25, 2011
KCC Approves Prairie Wind Transmission-Line Route June 29, 2011
Prairie Wind Transmission Schedules Additional Open Houses January 14, 2011
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