A Kansas wind power company has sued Independence, alleging the city’s electric utility failed to purchase more than a half million dollars worth of power it had contracted to buy.
Smoky Hills Wind Project II of central Kansas filed the breach of contract suit in U.S. District Court in Kansas City in January.
The lawsuit says a series of curtailments ordered by a regional power consortium cost Smoky Hills $544,553.10 in lost revenue and tax benefits. In December, the company sued City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., alleging a loss of $1.7 million for the same reason.
Independence Power & Light is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional power consortium, said Leon Daggett, director of Independence Power & Light. The group manages and delivers power over its transmission infrastructure from Smoky Hills to IP&L.
The power pool curtailed the power deliveries, Daggett said.
“We were ready to pay for (the power), but we didn’t get it,” he said. “We are not going to pay for something we didn’t get.”
Independence began buying wind-generated power from the Smoky Hills turbine facility near Salina in 2008. Since then, the facility has generated about 5 percent of the electricity used by IP&L customers.
Last summer, the Independence City Council endorsed a goal for IP&L to generate 10 percent of its power from non-carbon-based sources by 2018. The utility has announced plans to stop burning coal at one of its power plants by early 2016 and to transition a second coal plant to natural gas about the same time.
“The city of Independence remains committed to pursuing renewables and meeting the council-established goal,” said City Manager Robert Heacock.
In November, Independence officials invited energy developers to submit proposals to build a large solar farm within city limits. Several solar farms recently have been built across Missouri as they have grown more cost effective to construct and operate.
The utility is vetting three proposals and hopes to settle upon one within about two months, Daggett said.