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Cimarron Bend Wind Farm expansion now operational

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
The 119 MW expansion to the Cimarron Wind Farm in Clark County is expected to benefit the surrounding communities by also providing $49 million in additional funds for lease payments to landowners and $18 million for schools and other public services.

CLARK COUNTY — Enel, through its U.S. renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power North America, have begun operating a 199 MW expansion of the Cimarron Bend wind farm in Clark County, Kan., making the overall 599 MW facility Enel’s largest wind plant currently in operation worldwide. The investment in the expansion amounts to over $281 million.

Construction on the Cimarron Bend expansion began in the second quarter of 2020 and with its completion, its operations cements Enel Green Power’s status as the largest wind operator in Kansas by managed capacity.

The overall 599 MW facility is expected to generate a total of more than 2.7 TWh per year, equivalent to the electricity needed of over 245,000 households.

Enel sells the facility’s energy output through a 150 MW PPA with Evergy, an investor-owned utility based in Kansas City, as well as a 30 MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC), a joint action agency of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA).

“As Enel’s largest operating wind farm worldwide, expanding Cimarron Bend is one of our proudest achievements,” said Georgios Papadimitriou, Head of Enel Green Power in the U.S. and Canada. “We are honored to continue growing our footprint in Kansas, the site of over a quarter of our renewables portfolio and a major regional office.

“Our relationships with landowners, community leaders, public officials and local businesses have formed a strong foundation for our company in this state for over a decade, and they will continue to play a key role as we generate shared, sustainable value in the decades to come.”

Construction involved over 250 temporary jobs and now the expansion will employ an additional 5-10 permanent operations and maintenance positions.

The 199 MW expansion is estimated to generate an additional $49 million in lease payments to local landowners and over $18 million in new revenue to fund schools and public services over its lifetime.

The construction process for the Cimarron Bend expansion followed Enel Green Power’s Sustainable Construction Site model, a collection of best practices aimed at minimizing the impact of plant construction on the environment.

With the adoption of a recycling program, the site team plans to donate office supplies and equipment to local schools in need, aiming to extend the products’ useful lives while diverting them from landfills.

In the final stages of construction, Enel closely monitored the emergent COVID-19 pandemic and responded to protect the health of its workers and the community by abiding to the guidance of public officials.

They implemented stringent travel guidelines and enhanced sanitation, as crews implemented safe working habits and followed physical distancing instructions.

Furthermore, as part of its $1.3 million commitment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the U.S. and Canada, Enel dedicated $69,000 to food security organizations and first responders in Kansas including $20,000 to food security organizations in Tampa, Kans in Marion County, Elk County and Ellsworth County.

An additional $49,000 went to first responders in Minneola, Englewood, Ashland and Marion County.