Textron Aviation Signs Up For Wind Power


Textron Aviation has announced the signing of a multiyear agreement with Kansas utility company Evergy to meet “nearly all” electricity needs for its facilities in Wichita and Independence, Kansas, using wind energy. The energy will come from a 300-megawatt wind farm being constructed near Manhattan, Kansas. The Soldier Creek Wind Farm is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

“The purchase of renewable energy demonstrates our commitment to a more sustainable future for our employees, communities and customers,” said Textron Aviation Senior Vice President of Operations Brad White. “Textron Aviation claims nearly 20% of the zero-emission and renewable energy generated by the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center.”

According to Textron, switching to wind energy will lower its fuel factor cost from 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 1.8 cents per kWh. The savings are made possible through the Direct Renewable Participation Service (DRPS) tariff, which is designed to allow “large commercial and industrial customers to access wind energy at lower rates than the utility’s current offerings.” The DRPS was passed by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in July 2018.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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    • And you have a better solution for a non-polluting renewable energy source?

      It’s so easy to be a critic.

      • Wind sites still need 100% BACKUP because of calm and low wind days.
        CO2 is not a pollutant since it is the building block of all plant life and thus our life.

      • What are YOU talking about, Andrew? Mark is correct to ask the obvious question. Where WILL the power come from when Kansas’ infamous tornados take down that facility or the wind stops? That’s being critical?? What logic course did you take? Time for YOU to stop being critical and myopically one-sided.

        I’d ask how do we really know that the energy Textron is buying actually comes from the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center. How do we know that they’re not double or triple selling so called renewable energy credits? I see that as the next scam du jour. And less than 2 cents per KWH. Geezus … I pay six times that. Sounds like a scam to get cheap energy to entities by DRPS / KCC. Just WHO is subsidizing that operation? OH … maybe it’s part of all that ‘free stuff’ agenda currently seen on TV.

        Beyond that, Mark F is likewise correct that the single largest source of CO2 (what plants eat to make humans the oxygen they need) is the oceans. The notion that CO2 is some sort of ‘poison’ is fallacious. And CO2 levels are still way lower today than they were in the past when humans had no significant impact on the planet. How did THAT happen? Were cavemen driving too many pickup trucks? Climate whackos are moaning about all the trees being taken down in the Amazon … why don’t they figure out what trees “eat?”

        I summer near Oshkosh in an area near where the Midwest Renewable Energy Assn has an annual Energy Fair. I go because I’m interested in PV as a backup … and not primary. The people who go to that fair look like left over hippies from Golden Gate Park and the Haight Ashbury ‘hood’ of the 60’s. They think that the entire world can run on electric … and totally ignore that there are energy “costs” associated with each and every alternative energy scheme. We can be smart about energy but lets not get carried away with it all. Read “Lukewarming of the Planet.”

        Rather than retort to me … google Burt Rutan’s one hour long dissertation on Climate Change and become educated.

        I gotta go … my tree needs hugging … and Al Gore is coming over tomorrow to sell me some energy credits from his “Exchange.” I’ll be able to drive my 7.5L 460ci Ford all I want by doing THAT! (sigh).

        • Larry, there is so much misinformation in your comment I think you might be an internet propaganda ‘bot.
          CO2 levels are 40% higher than they’ve been for at least 800,000 years and the increase happened in the last 200.
          CO2 becomes a pollutant when there’s too much of it. Do you actually believe scientists don’t know plants need CO2 to grow?
          Get off talk radio and whatever oil company sponsored web sites you’re reading and see what NASA and the US National Academy of Sciences have to say about this subject.

          • I have color 8″ x 10″ glossy charts that say YOU are wrong Dan. No point in arguing. CO2 is not a poison and that’s that.

          • Since co2 has risen but the atmosphere has not warmed; then co2 is not the mechanism for the recent surface warming. That is good news.

          • You forced me to pull out my climate date folder. From the NOAA Dept of Paleoclimatology in Boulder and using ice core samples from Antarctica going back 740,000 years, there have been five ‘warm ages’ where average temps were above a datum line from present day average temps. ALL of the previous four before now were MUCH larger than todays warming which is a pimple, by comparison. It IS higher — I concede — but not anywhere near the largest warm cycle which was about 125,000 years ago. And NOAA is extrapolating that the long term cycling trend is for temps to go down NOT up. But that’s not based upon hard fact so who knows?

            Greenland didn’t get its name by accident. Based upon ice cores from there where the oldest known DNA samples were recovered, the island was covered by a boreal forest and had insect life between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago. During the Medieval Warm Period, Greenland was again green and settled. And that was before cars (and airplanes), I think?

            The Nat’l Academy of Sciences is among the worst source of data because THEY diddled it along with others. They have a parochial interest in same. NASA is some better but is likewise parochial. I believe neither. If you want to … knock yourself out and buy a Tesla. I believe that the Academy of Sciences is a bunch of leftie loons with an agenda.

            This blog isn’t about Climate change but about Textron calling itself “green” and “sustainable” because of some crazy energy credit scheme put together by still another governmental State agency. All of those wind mills don’t get built without using energy. Who pays for them? How can they possibly sell energy SO cheap? Lotsa heavy duty questions. It’s as crazy as an airline trying to call itself green because it bought energy credits.

            I do NOT believe a few degrees of temperature increases are an existential threat to humanity. In fact, in the very distant past, all the animals and plants were huge because CO2 levels WERE higher. If you want to believe the opposite … again … knock yourself out. Why don’t you sign up to be on the first ship to Mars with Elon if you’re that worried?

      • Yes, the elephant in room.
        Nuclear. 24/7/365 online reliable clean co2 free power (if you believe co2 is a problem, which I do not.).

        • Absolutely!

          Nuclear generation is the only alternative to provide baseline power in the absence of fossil fuels. The old AEC researched many reactor technologies that lacked the inherent dangers of pressurized water systems – but Westinghouse, Foster Wheeler, and their customers were committed to them and AEC funding dried up. One of DOE’s top priorities ought to be resurrecting those programs, refining them and bringing them into the 21st century.

          Rant accomplished, I don’t see anything wrong Textron’s wind turbines.

          • If nukes were economically viable, energy companies would be building dozens of them. Around the free world, the few new plants being built are going vastly over budget and beyond scheduled completion. No insurance companies will touch them, so governments have to indemnify them.
            Until one of these magical leaps in technology we keep hearing about actually arrives in an economical form, nukes will continue to lag behind other growing forms of energy.

          • Dan,

            You’re right about the poor economics of nuclear power generation.

            Part of that is due to the complexity of moderated pressurized water reactors, and the plethora of failure scenarios that had to be mitigated. PWRs constituted a necessary compromise when the mission required them to fit inside a submarine. They were never appropriate for civil power generation but they had all the momentum during the 1950s. The other part of the puzzle was the ability of the anti-nuclear movement to manipulate our legal system during licensing hearings to delay billion-dollar projects by months and years – killing some in their tracks and souring the utilities on the future of nuclear power by the ’70s. This was all before Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima which provided the last nail. For the record, Duke Energy has operated its PWRs profitably for decades. The industry won’t return to PWRs for all the reasons you’ve mentioned, but fail-safe alternatives have been demonstrated (U.S.AEC WASH 1097 [1969]).

            All I am saying is that prior work needs to updated and scaled up further by DOE. The licensing and actuarial processes need to be rationalized. Then, If nuclear can be supplanted by other technologies for baseline power I’m perfectly happy. I’m not happy if we turn our backs on any viable baseline strategy for ideological reasons.

  1. Here in the Peoples Republik, the inteligentia doesn’t like wind power, because wind turbines “kill birds and are an eyesore.” Really.
    They also don’t like hydro power because dams are bad for the ecology.
    They hate nuclear power because nuclear weapons are evil. Really.
    They hate coal-fired, oil-fired, and natural-gas-fired power because it warms the planet.
    They also hate fur coats, as a means of staying warm in the winter.
    They hate me because I don’t buy in to their dystopian visions.

    Lacking time for hate, I say ” bring on the wind turbines!” Just don’t rely on them.

    • Wind turbines are fine… but the notion that using so-called clean energy to create oil burning machines as “virtuous” is rather funny.

  2. At the current time, wind and solar installations are being subsidized by one government entity or another. If they weren’t subsidized, they would not be built because the construction costs are higher than gas turbine combined cycle plants. Oh, and combined cycle plants are over 60% efficient (some range as high as 85%), and they have a 97%+ on-stream reliability factor. Most power management agencies figure wind power as being about 60% efficient, but only have a 30% on-stream factor. It’s not me saying that, it’s the same agencies that dispatch power to the nation’s grid. It means that Textron, or any other wind consumer, will be buying non-subsidized power (at the higher rate) about 70% of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I support building wind farms and solar stations wherever they make sense (you can’t plunk a wind farm just anywhere). But, let’s not go all gooey and crazy about either one. Let’s be real: If Textron didn’t get the lower power costs – at your expense – they probably would have passed on the deal. The PR about being “green” is just icing on the cake.

    • Exactly my points, John. If Textron had to pay 15 cents / KwH for the “green” energy, they wouldn’t be doing it. As William says below, Kansas tax dollars are subsidizing liberals to feel better about themselves … and little more.

  3. I live in the eastern Washington desert. The land of solar and wind turbines. We also have many dams on the nearby Columbia and Snake Rivers, and nuclear from Hanford.

    I don’t like the turbines. As often as not they are in disrepair and yes, they are an eyesore on an otherwise beautiful desert landscape. Solar I don’t care much one was or the other, I’m only angered by tax dollars subsidizing liberals to feel better about themselves.

    The dams are what they are and don’t bother me. Nuclear is a good idea and I favor it.

    Best solution for electricity from a cost benefit point of view is likely natural gas, perhaps clean(er) coal.

    • Eastern Washington is fortunate to have abundant clean energy, from the dams to the wind & solar. I also include nuclear power in there for its non emission advantages. But, I have to smile a little whenever someone mentions “clean” coal. Having worked around the power industry for many years I can tell you that clean coal does not exist. Research into making coal less polluting has produced something that does produce much lower particulate emissions in the air. But, it still creates a huge amount of ash that has to be carefully disposed of or it will cause significant water pollution. Also, the actual “fuel” produced is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which will burn, but has a low BTU content. And, once burned, it still releases far more CO2 than natural gas. Since it has such a low energy content, it requires more fuel per unit volume than natural gas, which means higher CO2 emissions.

      In power generation there is no free lunch. All energy sources have a downside. Wind and solar are no exception. That’s why we need all of them.

  4. Thanks for the extra detail John.

    I put ‘clean’ in quotes because I know it is a misnomer.

    It’s main advantage is an immense supply and the ability to provide us with independent energy for many years. With that said it’s not first line in my estimation.