Electric co-op enters wind power pact


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. announced an agreement with a Kansas firm Thursday to purchase wind energy for its Arkansas customers.

AECC declined to disclose financial terms of the 20-year agreement but said the 66,000-acre Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm has begun full commercial operation, providing the Arkansas utility with 51 megawatts of potential wind energy. The electric co-op has 500,000 customers in Arkansas.

Flat Ridge 2 is located across a four-county area in Kansas. The wind capacity purchased by AECC is part of about 470 watts of potential generation provided by the farm’s 294 wind turbines.

“It’s our first agreement with wind companies. It’s a trial. We’ll continue to evaluate other options as they come about,” said Andrew Lachowsky, principle planning engineer with AECC. “We’re always interested in providing the most economical resources for our members. This fit in with the mix we currently have. We’ll be looking for other economic resources, including wind.”

In addition to the wind capacity, AECC owns generating capacity of 3,418 megawatts, including three hydropower plants on the Arkansas River, three natural gas and oil-based plants, four natural gas-based plants and portions of four coal-based plants.

BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power are equal joint venture partners for the Flat Ridge 2 wind power farm, which has a combined investment of more than $800 million. A wholly-owned affiliate of BP Wind Energy will monitor and maintain the farm, officials said.