Westar Energy, Inc. filed its application with the Kansas Corporation Commission today to request permission to build a new 345 kilovolt high-capacity transmission line from northwest of Wichita, near its Gordon Evans Energy Center, to the Hutchinson area and then to the Summit Substation near Salina.
Late last year, Westar Energy conducted five open houses to exchange information with landowners near several routes being considered for the transmission line. About 400 landowners and residents of the area attended open houses and answered questionnaires regarding the line.
The line will be built in two phases. With the KCC’s approval, Westar Energy will begin working with landowners to acquire easements this spring. Once easements have been acquired, construction of the first section of the line from northwest of Wichita to the new substation in Reno County will begin with completion expected between late 2008 and June 2009. Once the first phase of the line is complete, construction of the second section of the line from the Reno County substation to the Summit Substation will begin and is expected to take about one year to complete. Preliminary estimates of the project costs are between $80 million and $100 million.
Westar plans to build additional high capacity power lines to improve the electric network in Kansas and strengthen Kansas’ access to the broader regional wholesale power market. In its filing, it identifies plans to build a line from its Rose Hill Substation south of Wichita to the Kansas-Oklahoma border, where it will interconnect with the facilities of an Oklahoma-based utility, and from its Jeffrey Energy Center to its Swissvale Substation about 15 miles south of Topeka.