Kansas is Now Home to the Largest Enel Wind Project in the World

The Cimarron Bend wind farm starts operations in Kansas. Spread across 40,000 acres of land in Clark county, the power plant is Enel’s largest wind farm worldwide and serves as a source of economic development for the state and the region

Image: EnelImage: Enel

In Minneola, Kansas, spread across 40,000 acres of land, lies Enel Green Power North America’s (EGP-NA) Cimarron Bend wind farm. Today the company announced the completion of all 400 MW of installed capacity at the site. Cimarron Bend is the largest wind project in Enel’s global portfolio and has served as a source of economic development for the state of Kansas and the region – requiring an overall investment of 610 million USD for the construction.

“We are proud to expand our presence in Kansas,” said Rafael Gonzalez, Head of Enel Green Power North America. “The start of operations of Cimarron Bend comes as many Kansans are just beginning to recover from the devastating wildfires that recently swept across the state, including in Clark County, home to the wind farm. As long-term members of the local community, we stand in solidarity with our landowners, neighbors and the people of Kansas and are committed to supporting the relief and rebuilding efforts. The Cimarron Bend wind project began construction in April 2016 and created more than 350 construction jobs at the peak of construction.”

In addition to the jobs created during construction, EGP-NA will create about 10-12 full-time, long-term positions to operate and maintain the farm. As the largest operator of wind energy in Kansas, EGP-NA now operates1.1 GW of managed capacity, which has led to more than $1.7 billion in total investments in the state.

“Almost one year ago, I was honored to help announce the start of construction of the Cimarron Bend Project, and am pleased that it is now fully operational,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “This $610 million dollar investment in Kansas continues the economic development success story of wind energy in our State. And, while this is certainly welcome news, I’m also pleased that Enel has made financial resources available for Kansans impacted by the wildfire. Enel has partnered with the Ashland Community Foundation and the Kansas Livestock Association to help provide immediate relief in Clark County where the Cimarron Bend Project is located, after the wildfires that recently swept across the state.”

EGP-NA, in coordination with long-time strategic partner and Cimarron Bend project developer, Kansas-based Tradewind Energy, is working closely with the Kansas Livestock Association and the Ashland Community Foundation to support relief efforts in the project’s neighboring communities. EGP-NA is also actively working to provide additional financial resources to the Minneola Fire Department and Clark County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). 

“We worked hand-and-glove for eight years with the Clark County community to develop the Cimarron Bend wind project, always mindful of how important investments like these are for rural Kansas communities. Following the devastating Kansas wildfires, it was important to express our concern for this great community, so we have committed funds to Clark County Fire District #2 and the Ashland Rural Fire Department, as a token of our appreciation for their heroic efforts” said Brice Barton, Tradewind Energy’s vice president of development.

Cimarron Bend is also the first of EGP-NA’s wind farms to sell a portion of its power produced to a corporate off-taker. Google signed a bundled, long-term power purchase agreement for 200 MW of the 400 MW wind farm, as a part of the company’s initiative to receive 100 percent of its power from renewable sources in 2017. The remaining 200 MW will be sold through a bundled, long-term power purchase agreement to the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU). 

“This project will increase the size of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities’ (BPU) renewable portfolio to 45 percent of its total energy output. Maintaining a diversified mix of generation capabilities allows our public utility to deliver the most affordable, reliable, and environmentally friendly energy we can to the community we serve” stated Don Gray, General Manager of BPU.

Kansas is no stranger to wind development. The state ranks second in the nation for wind energy potential, and by 2030, Kansas’ power system is projected to produce enough wind energy each year to power the equivalent of 1.1 million average US homes. The wind industry has been a source of economic prosperity for the state, and according to a recent AWEA report, has directly or indirectly provided anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, EGP-NA accounted for about 1,300 of those new positions created across the company’s five wind farms in the state.

EGP-NA is committed to the development of renewable energy in Kansas, already the company operates four other wind farms in the state including, Caney River in Elk County, Smoky Hills I and II in Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties, and the Buffalo Dunes wind farm in Finney, Grant, and Haskell Counties.

EGP-NA is currently present in 23 US states and two Canadian provinces with exceeding 3.2 GW of managed capacity across four technologies including wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal.

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EPN, North America, Kansas, Enel, Cimarron Bend wind farm

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