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Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy Inc. and Electric Transmission America (ETA) have formed Prairie Wind Transmission LLC, a joint venture company that plans to construct ultra-high-capacity electric transmission facilities in Kansas.

Westar Energy and ETA will have equal ownership shares in Prairie Wind Transmission. ETA is a joint venture between AEP Transmission Holding Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Electric Power, and MEHC America Transco, a wholly owned subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

Prairie Wind Transmission is proposing to build approximately 230 miles of 765 kV transmission facilities extending from the Wichita area west to the Dodge City area and then south-southwest to the Kansas border from Medicine Lodge. Following the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, including approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission, these facilities are expected to be in service by the end of 2013.

"This project is the best first step toward the development of an interstate transmission 'super highway' in the Midwest that will enable Kansas to export renewable energy resources to other regions and facilitate access to markets for other generation sources," says Kelly Harrison, Westar Energy's vice president for transmission operations and president of Prairie Wind.

Prairie Wind Transmission's project is consistent with the Southwest Power Pool's plans for new ultra-high capacity transmission lines serving Kansas and the region to enhance access to lower-cost electric power markets, improve efficiency of the electric grid, improve reliability and enable extensive development of renewable energy.

SOURCE: Westar Energy Inc.

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