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Largest Solar Farm in Kansas Starts Commercial Operation
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation’s rural co-op members now enjoying clean, cost-effective energy from facility built, owned and operated by Lightsource BP
Johnson City, Kan. – Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and Lightsource BP have announced that the Johnson Corner Solar Project entered commercial operation on April 7. The $37 million project, which was financed and constructed by Lightsource BP, is located approximately two miles southwest of Johnson City in Stanton County, Kansas.
Lightsource BP, a global leader in the development, financing and management of utility-scale solar energy projects, is the project owner and operator. All the energy from the project is being sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to Sunflower, a not-for-profit electric utility providing wholesale generation and transmission services to six member-owners serving in central and western Kansas. The National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO) played a key role in helping Sunflower develop this important project for the public power community.
“Sunflower is proud to have worked with Lightsource BP and NRCO to bring online the state’s largest solar project to date,” said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Sunflower. “The Johnson Corner Solar Project adds yet another renewable fuel source to our diversified generation portfolio, which is designed to protect both the affordability and reliability of the energy we provide to our members.”
The project delivers 20 megawatts (AC) of clean and affordable on-peak electricity – enough to power the peak demand of over 4,900 homes across Sunflower’s service territory and more than doubling the state’s utility-scale solar capacity, previously at 14.1 megawatts. In addition to providing low-cost, on-peak energy, the Johnson Corner Solar Project will reduce loading on a nearby transmission line that is approaching capacity. As a result, Sunflower’s members will save costs by deferring or ultimately canceling the requirement for expensive infrastructure upgrades.
“Lightsource BP is pleased to be part of this project and in helping to keep rates low for electric cooperative members due to value derived from clean and low cost energy supply and transmission savings,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource BP in the Americas. “We applaud Sunflower Electric Power Corp. for their leadership in bringing the many benefits of solar energy to their communities in central and western Kansas.”
The project created more than 200 jobs during peak construction, with the workforce dispatched across 144 acres. Lightsource BP’s construction general contractor was Sterling and Wilson, who hired local subcontractors and recruited from the local labor pool. Precautions and guidelines provided by the CDC and public officials were followed on site, as well as implementation by Sterling and Wilson of additional strict measures to ensure the safety of the workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
About Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, established in 1957, is a regional wholesale generation and transmission supplier dedicated to serving its members by providing reliable power at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound business and cooperative practices. Sunflower’s member-owner cooperatives include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative Inc., Dighton; Pioneer Electric Cooperative Inc., Ulysses; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative Inc., Norton; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc., Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc., WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Scott City, Kan. Sunflower also serves Southern Pioneer Electric Company, a member located in Ulysses, Kan.
About Lightsource BP
Lightsource BP is a global leader in the financing, development and management of large-scale solar energy projects. They are a 50:50 joint venture with BP, working together to help drive the world’s transition to low carbon energy through competitively priced and sustainable electricity. With solar set to increase tenfold in the next 20 years, Lightsource BP is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth and aims to enact real change on the global energy landscape. Their ambition is to deliver 10 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2023.
The team comprises of 500 industry specialists, active across 13 countries – providing a full-service to their customers from initial site selection and permitting through to long-term management of projects. Lightsource BP in the US is headquartered in San Francisco with development offices in Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston.
For more information please visit lightsourcebp.com.
Lightsource BP media contact: Mary Grikas
2223 N. A St. - Wellington, KS 67152 - 620.326.3356
February 18, 2020 CONTACT: Jared McIntire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 620-326-3356 – Office
WELLINGTON, Kan. – After a nationwide search, Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative and NRECA Executive Search are pleased to announce that Coni Adams has officially accepted the position of CEO for Sumner-Cowley Electric and will begin serving in that capacity in April.
“The Board worked hard through the process and interviewed candidates from across the nation,” said Sumner-Cowley Electric Board of Directors President John Schon. “We feel that we got the best candidate for the job and we are excited for Coni to lead Sumner-Cowley into the future.”
Adams began her career at Sumner-Cowley in 2000 as receptionist and has served as Manager of Administration/Human Resources since 2011. She earned the title of Assistant CEO in 2018. Adams received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southwestern College and is a graduate of NRECA’s Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the next generation leader for Sumner Cowley Electric,” said Adams. “I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and Staff to continue to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to the member-owners of Sumner-Cowley Electric.
Adams will fill the CEO position that is opening with the upcoming retirement of current CEO Clete Rains. Rains joined the cooperative in 1977 and has served as CEO since 1996.
“I am both excited and proud the Board of Directors has selected Coni to serve as the next CEO of Sumner-Cowley Electric,” said Rains. “Coni has proven herself to be a leader and I have complete faith she will be successful in leading Sumner-Cowley Electric into the future.”
ABOUT THE COOPERATIVE
Established in 1938, Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a not-for-profit, member-owned utility located in southeast Kansas. Sumner-Cowley Electric provides electric service to rural areas in all of Sumner County, half of Cowley County and parts of Kingman, Sedgwick and Harper counties. The co-op serves approximately 3,600 members with 1,900 miles of line. For more information, visit sucocoop.com or visit our Facebook page.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 13, 2020
KEC announces appointment of Tafanelli as new CEO
Topeka, KS - Major General Lee Tafanelli has accepted the position as chief executive officer of Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. effective on or about May 1, 2020.
Tafanelli currently serves as the Kansas Adjutant General, responsible for three primary duties: ensuring the wartime readiness of over 7,000 soldiers and airmen of the Kansas Army and Air National Guard, coordinating the overall emergency preparedness for the state’s response to natural disasters and emergencies, and serving as the Homeland Security Advisor for the state of Kansas.
Tafanelli served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2001-2005, when he took a leave from office to command the 891st Engineer Battalion in Iraq. After his deployment, he resumed his legislative post in 2006 where he served until January 2011, when he was appointed Kansas Adjutant General.
During his time in the Kansas Legislature and as Adjutant General, Tafanelli developed a deep interest and focus on issues affecting rural Kansas. “I‘m honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead a group that does such important work for Kansans in rural areas,” he said. “I have deep respect for the complex challenges faced by KEC members who work hard everyday to provide critical and reliable service for Kansas communities.”
“Major General Tafanelli has dedicated himself to public service and defending our nation,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “In addition to his work with the Kansas National Guard, the Adjutant General led the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, where he has been responsible for marshalling resources to communities that have been impacted by disasters such as tornadoes, flooding and more recently wildfires. His efforts and leadership have benefited Kansans statewide, and I have no doubt that he will continue this same level of commitment and dedication in his new role outside of government.”
Tafanelli received his commission from Pittsburg State University, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, and holds a master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Management from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Tafanelli will replace Bruce Graham who has announced his plans to retire as CEO of KEC. Graham has 40 years of association and electric cooperative industry experience and has served as KEC CEO since 2012. He will continue to lead KEC until the transition date.
KEC advocates on behalf of 28 electric distribution cooperatives and three generation and transmission cooperative serving rural Kansas. The association’s primary services are government and regulatory relations at the state and federal level, communications including a monthly magazine that is distributed statewide, loss control and safety training and consulting, employee and director training, youth outreach and public relations services. The association is headquartered in Topeka and has 14 employees. Visit https://kec.coop/.
Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and Mid-Kansas Electric Company merge
Hays, Kan.—Jan. 2, 2020—Sunflower Electric Power Corporation announces its merger with Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc. effective Jan.1, 2020. The merger of the two cooperatively operated, wholesale electric utilities incorporates Mid-Kansas into Sunflower.
Regulatory filings for the merger were submitted in August 2018 to the Kansas Corporation Commission, which approved the merger in March 2019. Sunflower and Mid-Kansas also filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to obtain approval to combine transmission zones and rates.
Sunflower is owned by six distribution cooperatives that serve in western Kansas. In 2005, Sunflower’s members formed Mid-Kansas to bid on the sale of Aquila’s Kansas Electric Network properties. Member-owners of Mid-Kansas include five distribution cooperatives and one wholly owned subsidiary of a distribution cooperative that serve in central and western Kansas. Mid-Kansas began operation on April 1, 2007.
“The formation of Mid-Kansas by the Sunflower members gave more Kansans the opportunity to be served by the cooperative business model,” said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas. “The success of Mid-Kansas has benefitted everyone—the members of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas and the thousands of Kansans they serve.”
Since 2007, the intent of Sunflower’s and Mid-Kansas’ member-owners has been to merge the two generation and transmission providers to capitalize on synergies and offer added value to their members.
“Merging Sunflower and Mid-Kansas results in a single wholesale rate that can better sustain our recent rate decreases for our end-users,” said Steve Epperson, Mid-Kansas’ board chairman.
Savings will result from operational efficiencies and access to lower financial lending rates due greater financial stability of the merged entities.
“In addition to simplifying the two companies into one, there are multiple ways we will save costs,” said Davis Rooney, vice president and CFO of the two utilities. “The merged entity will be both operationally and financially stronger.”
About Mid-Kansas—Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc is a coalition of five rural electric cooperatives and one wholly owned subsidiary of a distribution cooperative. Mid-Kansas’ members include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative Inc., Dighton; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative Inc., Norton; Southern Pioneer Electric Company, Ulysses; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc., Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc., WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Scott City, Kan.
About Sunflower— Sunflower’s member cooperatives include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative Inc., Dighton; Pioneer Electric Cooperative Inc., Ulysses; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative Inc., Norton; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc., Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc., WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Scott City, Kan. For more information, please visit Sunflower’s website at http://www.sunflower.net. Sunflower is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
KEC is excited to sponsor a special agricultural forum held on September 7, 2019 at the Kansas State Fair. The forum will feature Ambassador Gregg Doud, Cheif Agricultural Negotiator; Mike Beam, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture; and Dr. Roger Marshall, Member of the U.S. House Agricultural Committee. Learn more about the forum.
Natural Gas and Electric Companies Partner to Educate Customers About Utility Scams
Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. is standing with other local utilities, including Black Hills Energy, Kansas Gas Service, Kansas Municipal Utilities, Westar Energy and Kansas City Power and Light Company, to educate consumers about scams targeting utility customers and ways they can protect themselves.
November 14 is National Utility Scam Awareness Day, which raises the awareness of scammers posing as utility company employees in an attempt to steal customers’ private information.
Typically, these scammers use telephone, mail, email or door-to-door tactics to target customers. They pose as electric, water or natural gas company employees, and threaten customers by saying their service will be disconnected or shut off if they fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable form of payment.
Tips to help you avoid being the victim of a utility scam:
- You should never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Legitimate utility companies do not specify how customers should make a bill payment and always offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft or mail.
- If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill.
- If you suspect a scam, you should hang up, delete the email or shut the door. Then you should then call your utility company at the number on your monthly bill or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides.
You can learn more about avoiding scams on our website at www.UtilitiesUnited.org.
November 5, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONSOLIDATION VOTE PASSES
On Nov. 5 during the Special meeting of the Members at Lyon-Coffey’s BETO office, a vote to consolidate Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative and Radiant Electric Cooperative into 4 Rivers Electric Cooperative, Inc. was brought before the membership. The consolidation vote passed by over 93 percent of the voting members during the scheduled meeting.
On the same Monday evening, Radiant Electric Cooperative conducted a similar Special meeting of the Members at their office near Fredonia, Kansas. Radiant’s membership also approved the consolidation with 94 percent of the members present in favor of the consolidation.
The two cooperatives plan to become 4 Rivers Electric Cooperative, Inc. on Jan.1, 2020.
“We are looking forward to joining this partnership with Radiant Electric Cooperative. This is a great opportunity to stabilize rates for the future and continue to provide the safe affordable service our members expect and deserve” said Lyon-Coffey Board President Robert Converse.
For more information, contact:
Mike Tweedy, Director of Member Services
Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative, Inc.
2731 Milo Terrace
Lebo, Kansas 66856