SOURCE: Westar Energy

December 12, 2008 10:27 ET

Prairie Wind Transmission Files Compromise Proposal to Build Ultra-High Capacity Transmission Lines

TOPEKA, KS--(Marketwire - December 12, 2008) - Prairie Wind Transmission LLC today announced it has filed with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) a compromise proposal to build new 765-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines in Kansas. The compromise filed Thursday calls for Prairie Wind Transmission to build a line extending about 175 miles from the Wichita area west-southwest to the Liberal area and about 25 miles south-southwest to the Kansas-Oklahoma border from Medicine Lodge. ITC Great Plains will build a 765-kV line connecting to Prairie Wind Transmission's line near the intersection of Clark, Comanche and Kiowa counties going about 35 miles northwest to Spearville and then about 145 miles north to the Kansas-Nebraska border. Prairie Wind Transmission and ITC Great Plains previously had submitted separate proposals to build 765-kV transmission lines in Kansas.

The new 765-kV lines would be the first of their kind west of the Mississippi River allowing the development of an interstate transmission "super highway" in the region and are consistent with the Southwest Power Pool's plans to enhance access to lower-cost electric power markets, improve efficiency of the electric grid, improve reliability, and enable extensive development of renewable energy.

"All parties agree that Kansas needs new high-voltage transmission lines, and this compromise could help Prairie Wind and ITC move more quickly to make the new lines a reality," said Kelly Harrison, president, Prairie Wind Transmission, and vice president, transmission operations and environmental services, Westar Energy. "We are committed to bringing the benefits of an interstate transmission highway to Kansas and the region. We can move this process forward by working together."

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously approved Prairie Wind Transmission's request for key rate components in its proposal to build the new transmission line. Construction of the new line will begin following the receipt of all necessary regulatory and cost allocation approvals, with the new line expected to be in service by the end of 2013.

Project cost will be based on final routing and siting, with final approval by the KCC and SPP.

Prairie Wind Transmission is a joint venture between Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) and Electric Transmission America (ETA). ETA is a joint venture between wholly-owned subsidiaries of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.

AEP has extensive experience building extra-high-voltage 765-kV transmission lines and owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes 2,100 miles of 765-kV transmission lines, more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. MidAmerican is among the largest transmission owners in the country.

For more information about Prairie Wind Transmission, please visit the Web site at http://www.prairiewindtransmission.com/.

Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to about 675,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has about 6,500 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates approximately 33,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines. For more information about Westar Energy, visit http://www.WestarEnergy.com.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP's transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, based in Des Moines, Iowa, is a global provider of energy services. Through its energy-related business platforms, MidAmerican provides electric and natural gas service to more than 6.9 million customers worldwide. These business platforms are Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp Energy, which comprise PacifiCorp; MidAmerican Energy Company; CE Electric UK; Northern Natural Gas Company; Kern River Gas Transmission Company; and CalEnergy. Information about MidAmerican is available at www.midamerican.com.