The latest wind farm in Kansas had a grand opening near Colby where the $650 million Solomon Forks Wind Project is located and another wind project will be constructed.
ENGIE North America representatives as well as local business leaders and government officials were on hand for for the opening and to celebrate the East Fork Wind project that is slated to be operational in the spring of 2020.
Both projects are located in Thomas County, near the city of Colby, in northwest Kansas and together represent $650 million of investment. ENGIE will serve T-Mobile US, Inc., Target Corp., Brown-Forman, and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty through these projects.
With 105 wind turbines capable of producing 276 MW of clean energy, Solomon Forks is currently the largest wind farm in ENGIE North America’s portfolio. Now in commercial operation, the project will generate benefits to the local area for years to come, with lease payments to landowners under land easements, local jobs to operate and maintain the facility, purchases of local goods and services, donations to Colby Unified School District No. 315, and a scholarship fund established by Solomon Forks with Colby Community College.
The East Fork Wind Project, meanwhile, also has substantial generation capacity at 196 MW from 72 turbines. Similar to Solomon Forks, the East Fork project is enabling new economic and educational opportunities to the local area, with lease payments to landowners under land easements, local job creation during construction and commercial operation, purchases of local goods and services, donations to local schools, a scholarship fund established by East Fork with Colby Community College, and annual PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) payments to Thomas County.
“ENGIE, Target, T-Mobile, Brown-Forman, and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty now know what we have known in Kansas for years – our resources, whether they be our farm ground, our transportation infrastructure, our wind in this case, or most importantly the communities and people of Kansas – are second to none. I applaud ENGIE, Target, T-Mobile, Brown-Forman, and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty for the success of these projects, ENGIE’s investment in the local community college, and what all this means for Thomas County and all of Kansas,” said Kansas Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman.
“It’s entirely fitting to celebrate the power of wind here in Kansas, a state whose name stems from the Native American word that means ‘south wind,’” said Colby Mayor Gary Adrian. “For businesses and cities, we need to look at the future as an opportunity not a challenge. I’d like to thank ENGIE for the economic and clean energy engine it has become for our community here in Kansas today and for the future.”
Both the Solomon Forks and East Fork projects reinforce ENGIE’s strategy to lead the zero-carbon transition for companies and local authorities. They contribute to ENGIE’s rapid expansion in renewables, with an ambition to build approximately 9,000 MW of new renewable energy projects from 2019-2021 globally, including 2,500 MW of new renewable capacity in North America. The company has an additional 10,000 MW of wind and solar projects in its broader development pipeline in the U.S. and Canada.