Kansans are a step closer to benefitting from a more robust electric transmission system with a portion of the Prairie Wind Transmission line now in service. About 78 miles of the 108-mile, double circuit 345 kV transmission line is complete and moving electricity between Wichita and Medicine Lodge. The line was energized Wednesday. The remainder of the Prairie Wind project, which will take the line from Medicine Lodge south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2014.
The Prairie Wind line is part of a broader project commonly referred to as the Y-Plan. The Y-Plan will alleviate congestion in the region’s transmission grid.
“Construction of the line has brought good paying jobs to the communities near the line, giving local economies a boost,” said Kelly Harrison, president of Prairie Wind Transmission and vice president, transmission of Westar Energy. “This line is like an electricity super highway Portion of Prairie Wind Transmission line energized that will strengthen the state’s transmission system for decades, providing Kansas communities with more reliable electricity, enabling development of wind energy and giving Kansans access to lower cost electricity.”
Under this plan, OG&E will continue the Prairie Wind line from the Kansas/Oklahoma border to Woodward, Okla. ITC Great Plains is constructing a line from Medicine Lodge to a Clark County, Kan. substation and then to Spearville, Kan. All of the transmission line projects under the Y-Plan are scheduled to be complete by the end of this year.
Through careful project planning and management, the estimated cost of the Prairie Wind line was lowered last fall to $170 million, about 25 percent less than original estimates of $225 million. Prairie Wind is a joint venture formed by Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America — a joint venture of an American Electric Power subsidiary and MidAmerican Transmission — to build and own new electric