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The Empire District Electric Co., a Joplin, Mo.-headquartered utility, has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Cloud County Wind Farm LLC, owned by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy.

Under the agreement, Empire will purchase approximately 100 MW of energy from the Meridian Way Wind Farm (formerly known as the Cloud County Wind Farm) located in Cloud County, Kan., near Concordia. Empire anticipates that it will purchase approximately 350,000 MWh of energy annually from the project - enough energy to meet the annual electricity needs of about 25,000 homes.

Construction on the Meridian Way Wind Farm is expected to begin in late 2007 or early 2008, with the units scheduled to be fully operational in late 2008. The wind farm will encompass approximately 9,000 acres in Cloud County and will include at least 20 landowners, according to Empire.

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