Kansas' major electric utility, Westar Energy has completed its 280MW Western Plains Wind Farm project in the American state to boost its clean energy capacity by more than 50%.

The wind farm located near Spearville in Ford County has started commercial production of clean power to cover half of the energy needs of households, businesses and institutions in the region.

It will be owned and operated by Westar Energy.

Westar Energy generation and marketing senior vice president John Bridson said: “By carefully selecting the locations for our wind farms, we’ve cost-effectively grown our commitment to renewable energy.

“In February, on a day with particularly windy conditions, there was one hour where we met 90 percent of our customers’ electricity needs with renewable energy.”

Developed by Infinity Wind and built by Mortenson Construction, the Western Plains Wind Farm comprises turbines from German manufacturer Siemens.

Nacelles, an important component of the wind farm which houses the electric generators needed for the turbines, were manufactured locally in Kansas at Hutchinson.

Westar expects the wind farm to boost the local economy in the next 20 years through land lease payments and payments to governments at the local and county levels in tune of $75m.

While 200 temporary jobs were created during the construction stage of the project, 36 permanent roles will be added upon its commissioning.

Westar Energy now owns three wind farms with the addition of Western Plains. Besides, the utility delivers clean energy to its customers from eight other wind farms and a land fill gas generator through long-term power agreements.

It also has a 1MW community solar installation in its pipeline at South Hutchinson in Reno County. The community solar installation features 3,400 panels, equivalent to about 200 average residential private solar installations, said Westar.