Billion-dollar southwest Missouri wind farm moving forward, faces hearing

Liberty Utilities-Empire District will continue the process toward a proposed 600-megawatt wind farm in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas with a public hearing this week, the Joplin Globe reports.

Representatives from the Joplin utility and the Missouri Public Service Commission will participate in the session Wednesday night at Missouri Southern State University.

Liberty-Empire’s Blake Mertens said the project is in the “permitting phase,” and that the utility expects final PSC approval of the plan in the next few months.

Liberty-Empire originally announced plans in October 2017 for an 800-megawatt wind farm, but it scaled the anticipated generation down to 600-megawatts after initial negotiations. That decreased the projected cost from $1.5 billion to $1.1 billion.

Liberty-Empire claims the wind farm could reduce the utility’s reliance on coal by 21 percent. The utility says the economics of renewable energy like wind make it a worthwhile investment.

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