Ørsted, a leading U.S. renewable energy company, today announced the start of operations for Sunflower Wind, a wind farm located in Marion County, Kansas. To celebrate this achievement in clean energy development, as well the economic benefits it stands to bring to the local community and the greater state of Kansas, Ørsted hosted a gathering attended by partners, landowners, community members, and local and state elected officials.
"Sunflower Wind not only adds to the historic string of mega business investments in Kansas by creating new jobs and driving more private investment into our State, but it will be the first project operating in Kansas to install light mitigating technology that will help preserve our night skies,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Further, Sunflower Wind has announced a great local partnership to ensure 3,000 acres of native, intact grass will remain protected as we continue to tout the ecological treasure we have in the scenic Kansas Flint Hills."
In addition to providing affordable, clean energy, Sunflower Wind will provide economic benefits to its host community and state economies. The wind farm is projected to inject tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenue over the next thirty years, which will help fund local infrastructure, schools, and emergency services with no added burden to local taxpayers. The project will also utilize a new Aircraft Detection Lighting System so that the nighttime lights on the turbines blink only when aircraft are detected to reduce light pollution for residents.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate this achievement and our first clean energy project in Kansas with the community, legislators, and our participating landowners,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “With Sunflower Wind, we now have 13 operational wind farms in the U.S., generating 832 MW in the Southwest Power Pool.
Ørsted pioneered a landmark supply chain decarbonization effort to deliver renewable energy access and bundled renewable energy credits from Sunflower Wind to nine companies. Working with Schneider Electric, Ørsted entered into Power Purchase Agreements with Amcor, PepsiCo, Stryker, Citizens, and Walmart’s Project Gigaton Cohort, which includes Amy’s Kitchen, Great Lakes Cheese, The J.M. Smucker Co., Levi Strauss & Co., and Valvoline Global Operations.
Ørsted is committed to building its renewable energy projects sustainably with a goal of ensuring that all its projects have a net-positive biodiversity impact starting in 2030. Working with The Conservation Fund, Ørsted is supporting voluntary land conservation efforts for up to 3,000 acres located within the Flint Hills in central Kansas. In addition, Ørsted is partnering with The Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to restore additional land under conservation easements.
Throughout development and construction of the project, Ørsted prioritized supporting businesses in Kansas and Marion County. Ørsted added $13 million to the local economy by buying equipment, materials, and supplies from local businesses. In addition, Ørsted has invested $3 million into permanent infrastructure improvements for Marion County, including public road upgrades, for the surrounding area during the project’s development.
Ørsted currently has nearly 6 GW of onshore renewable energy capacity in operation or under construction and aims to reach 17.5 GW of global onshore renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade.