Liberty Utilities – Empire District has Contracted with Tenaska and Steelhead Americas to Bring Projects to Fruition
JOPLIN, Missouri – Development of the North Fork Ridge and Kings Point wind farms north and east of Joplin is progressing, with construction anticipated to begin in fall 2019, pending final regulatory approval.
Liberty Utilities – Empire District has contracted with energy company Tenaska and developer Steelhead Americas to complete the projects. Tenaska has been contracted to manage onsite development and construction services for the wind farms, which will have approximately 300 megawatts (MW) of combined capacity. Tenaska, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is a leading independent power producer that has developed more than 10,000 MW of natural gas-fueled and renewable power generation and currently manages operations of approximately 8,000 MW. Its affiliates are industry-leading marketers of natural gas and electric power. Steelhead Americas is the North American development arm of Vestas, the world’s largest wind energy company.
“Tenaska and Steelhead are trusted names in the energy industry,” said Blake Mertens, Liberty Utilities’ vice president of operations – electric. “We are excited to work with them to get these wind farms into operation, which will ultimately save our customers money per our Customer Savings Plan.”
North Fork Ridge and Kings Point are located in portions of Barton, Dade, Jasper and Lawrence counties. The wind farms, which are anticipated to utilize approximately 140 turbines combined, are targeted to be operational in late 2020.
Local Development Activities
Field work to support the development of North Fork Ridge and Kings Point is ramping up. This includes surveying, geotechnical analysis of soil conditions, bird studies and environmental surveys for waters, wetlands and cultural artifacts. These types of activities, which will occur periodically until the start of construction, will be conducted on land leased to the wind farms. Landowners are notified in advance of any field work conducted on their property, and all field work is performed in accordance with the applicable lease agreements.
Tenaska uses subcontractors to perform many of these field activities. Personnel wear identifiable gear, and their vehicles are marked. Tenaska strives to maintain good relationships with landowners, and subcontractors are asked to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
“We are excited by the steady progress on North Fork Ridge and Kings Point,” said Tenaska Vice President Scott Seier, who is managing development of the projects. “There is still quite a bit of work to do, but we look forward to the start of construction later this year.”
To help ensure landowners and other members of the community have access to information about the projects, Tenaska has a local office at 1200 Grand Ave. in Carthage. The office is staffed 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or by appointment by calling 417-423-8288.
North Fork Ridge and Kings Point will have a positive impact on the regional economy, including:
- Diversified land use and stable income to landowners through lease payments
- Roughly 200 jobs at peak construction, plus seven to 10 full-time operations jobs at each wind farm
- Opportunities for local businesses to provide goods and services to the wind farms
There will be additional economic benefits during construction and operation, as the construction workers and plant employees eat in restaurants and shop in local establishments. At the same time, the wind farms will create little demand for local services, such as schools, police or roads – a win-win for area residents.
Further, North Fork Ridge and Kings Point are part of Liberty – Empire’s Customer Savings Plan, which will add a total of 600 MW of new wind generation to the utility’s service territory over the next few years. This is anticipated to generate cost savings of up to $169 million over a 20-year period and up to $300 million over a 30-year period. Learn more about the Customer Savings Plan at www.empiredistrict.com/wind.
Tenaska, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the leading independent energy companies in the United States. Forbes magazine consistently ranks Tenaska among the 50 largest private U.S. companies. Gross operating revenues were approximately $10.5 billion in 2017.
Tenaska has developed more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) of natural gas-fueled and renewable power projects. Tenaska and its affiliates have managed the acquisition of approximately 10,750 MW of energy assets. The current Tenaska operating fleet includes 11 natural gas-fueled and renewable power plants able to generate approximately 8,000 MW combined.
Tenaska affiliates are industry leaders in natural gas and electric power marketing. Tenaska Marketing Ventures (TMV) is among the top five largest natural gas marketers in North America and is the top-ranked natural gas pipeline capacity trader. During 2018, TMV sold or managed 10.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day. Tenaska Power Services Co. is the leading provider of energy management services to generation and demand-side customers in the U.S., with more third party-owned generation under management than any other provider.
For more information, visit www.tenaska.com
About Steelhead Americas
Steelhead Americas, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a wholly owned development subsidiary of Vestas. Through a development and co-development pipeline of over 3,000 MW of wind energy projects, Steelhead Americas aims to enable future growth in the North American wind energy market. Vestas is the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer and leading provider of wind energy solutions, with over 101 GW of wind turbines installed in 80 countries.
About Liberty Utilities
Liberty Utilities Co. owns and operates regulated water, wastewater, natural gas and electric transmission and distribution utilities in 12 states, delivering responsive and reliable essential services to over 750,000 customers across the United States. With a local approach to management, service and support, we deliver efficient, dependable services to meet the needs of our customers. Liberty Utilities provides a superior customer experience through walk-in customer centers, locally focused conservation and energy efficiency initiatives, and programs for businesses and residential customers. We measure our performance in terms of service reliability, an enjoyable customer experience, and an unwavering dedication to public and workplace safety. Liberty Utilities currently operates in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Texas. For more information, please visit www.LibertyUtilities.com
Liberty Utilities – Empire District, Joplin, Missouri, is headquarters for the Company’s Central Region, providing electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater service to nearly 320,000 customers across six states. For more information regarding services in the Empire area, visit www.empiredistrict.com.