The Kay wind farm is located in Kay County, Oklahoma, US. Credit: Eric Pierce.
Siemens supplied SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines for the wind farm. Credit: Siemens.
The Kay Wind facility includes 130 wind turbines. Credit: Siemens.

The 299MW Kay Wind facility, owned by Southern Company’s subsidiary Southern Power, is located in Kay County, Oklahoma, US. The wind farm began commercial operations in December 2015.

The project developer Apex Clean Energy is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the wind farm. Southern Power acquired the Kay Wind facility from Apex in 2015. The facility is expected to power approximately 100,000 US homes a year.

The project created 218 local jobs during construction and twelve full-time jobs for operation and maintenance of the wind farm.

Kay Wind facility location and construction

The wind farm is situated in rural Kay County, next to existing transmission lines, on private land. The location is well-suited for a wind energy project as it offers verified wind resources, existing high-voltage power lines, an abundance of private land and is in close proximity to state highways.

Full site construction works began in March 2015 and the first of 130 wind turbines was installed in July 2015. Upon the arrival of all the pieces, a crane stacked the three tower sections to the design height of 262ft. The nacelle was then placed on the tower, followed by the installation of the rotor to the nacelle.

Siemens Energy and Blattner Energy installed two turbines a day at peak productivity to cope with the construction timeline.

The nacelles for the wind farm were assembled at Siemens’ facility in Hutchinson, Kansas, while the blades were produced at the Siemens blade facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Siemens Financial Services (SFS) Division offered up to $80m funding for the project’s construction.

Kay Wind plant make-up

The wind farm is equipped with 130 Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines rated at 2.3MW each. The turbines are mounted on tubular steel towers composed of three sections, of which the nacelle weighs more than 50t and houses a three-stage planetary/helical gearbox and asynchronous generator.

The 74.5t rotor assembly includes a hub and three self-supporting blades. It creates a sweeping area of 355ft in diameter, covering more than two acres.

Power purchase agreements

The power and related renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the wind farm will be sold under 20-year power purchase agreements with Westar Energy and Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA).

GRDA signed a renewable energy purchase agreement (REPA) with Apex Clean Energy for buying 100MW output from the wind farm, in August 2014.

Apex Clean Energy signed a REPA with Westar Energy for 200MW of wind power from the project, in November 2013. Both companies have the option to continue or sell the RECs.

Funding for wind facility

“The project created 218 local jobs during construction and twelve full-time jobs for operation and maintenance of the wind farm.”

The financial closure of a $397m construction loan for the wind project was achieved in March 2015. Bayerische Landesbank, New York Branch, and Rabobank, New York Branch, are the joint lead arrangers (JLAs) and joint book runners.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, New York Branch, Commerzbank, New York Branch, KeyBank National Association and Siemens Financial Services also acted as JLAs for the transaction. Rabobank is the administrative and collateral agent, as well as the letter of credit issuer.

Contractors involved with Kay Wind facility development

Siemens was awarded a supply, support, installation and long-term service contract by Apex Clean Energy for the Kay Wind project in April 2015. Under a long-term service and maintenance agreement, Siemens will also offer remote monitoring and diagnostic services for the turbines throughout their lifespan.

Blattner Energy was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the wind farm.