Sunflower takes a cost-biased approach in its utilization of electric generation resources. A cost-biased approach to power production results in more affordable energy for our Members, which, in turn, helps to spur economic growth in the areas served by our Members.
Natural gas comprises approximately over half of Sunflower’s generation portfolio based on nameplate capacity. Natural gas is also an abundant fuel source available within the United States and remains an affordable means to power central and western Kansas. Learn more about Sunflower’s natural gas facilities.
Coal accounts for 27.37 percent of Sunflower’s generation portfolio. Learn more about Sunflower’s coal source.
Accounting for approximately 13.96 percent of Sunflower’s generation portfolio is wind. Sunflower does not own or operate wind farms; however, it buys wind energy through a Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) from Smoky Hills Wind Farm, located in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties, and Shooting Star Wind Farm, located in Kiowa County.
A PPA for the 20-megawatt Johnson Corner Solar Project, which came online in April 2020, provides Sunflower with 1.57 percent of its nameplate capacity.
Hydro represents the remaining .18 percent of the Sunflower generation mix. Sunflower receives hydro energy through the Western Area Power Administration.
Sunflower’s fuel diversity protects it from unforeseen shifts within the fuel market and allows Sunflower to provide affordable and reliable energy to those we serve.
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission operator to which Sunflower belongs, launched the Integrated Marketplace (IM) in March of 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to provide SPP members with a robust wholesale energy market.
The IM, which builds on the Energy Imbalance Service market that SPP launched in 2007, consists of complex tools and processes designed to maximize cost-effective power delivery while simultaneously protecting grid reliability and relieving transmission congestion. SPP’s shift to the IM included an allowance for region-wide balancing of power supply and demand. The IM starts and dispatches the most cost-effective power generation resources to meet electric demand at any given time while ensuring that grid reliability is maintained. The cumulative marketplace benefits of this revolutionary change (the IM) in power delivery protocol exceeded $4.23 billion across the SPP region as of April 2021 and an average annual savings of $744 million.
As an IM market participant, Sunflower buys all of the energy required to meet customer demand from the market and sells energy to the market from its generating resources. The revenue earned from selling energy to the market from Sunflower’s generators helps offset the cost of energy used to meet Sunflower’s demand. The IM also includes provisions to ensure transmission owners, such as Sunflower, retain the value associated with their transmission assets. All IM transactions are made a day in advance based on our system’s estimated demand and offer information associated with our generating resources. The day-ahead transactions are then trued-up in real time based on actual energy flows. This results is an integrated system of supply and demand that ultimately means a more efficient and cost-effective use of all the assets within the SPP footprint.