Purchase photos

Mid-Kansas plans new power plant





Mid-Kansas Electric Co. today announced plans to build a 110-megawatt natural gas power plant east of Ulysses.

The project is expected to cost $130 million and commence in early 2013, according to a statement. The plant will be located approximately 13 miles east of Ulysses in Grant County.

Construction is expected to be completed in April 2014.

Mid-Kansas is owned by the six electric cooperatives that also own Sunflower Electric.

It was created by the cooperatives to purchase the electric assets of Aquila. Both Mid-Kansas and Sunflower are based in Hays.

The project, using 12 natural gas engines designed by Caterpillar Power Generation Systems, will be similar to the Goodman Energy Center northwest of Hays that was built by Midwest Energy.

"The Mid-Kansas board of directors has been, and will continue to be, visionary in seeking ways to best fulfill our mission of providing reliable, affordable energy to our members and those they serve," said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Mid-Kansas. "History has shown the merits of having a balanced generation portfolio, so we know Rubart Station will further enhance our current fleet of natural gas, coal and wind resources."

Lowry also serves as president and CEO of Sunflower Electric.

The plant will be named for Perry Rubart, a longtime trustee from Ulysses-based Pioneer Electric Cooperative, one of the electric cooperatives that owns Mid-Kansas and Sunflower.

Grant County was selected because of its proximity to transmission lines and a competitive supply of natural gas. There's also a need for voltage resources to support load growth and wind generation in the area, according to the statement from Mid-Kansas.

Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertel said the cooperative still is pursuing construction of a second coal-fired power plant outside of Holcomb.

In addition to Pioneer, the cooperatives include Lane-Scott, Dighton; Prairie Land, Norton; Victory, Dodge City; Western, WaKeeney; and Wheatland, Scott City.