SOURCE: Westar Energy, Inc.

Westar Energy, Inc.

February 12, 2009 07:00 ET

Westar Energy Looking for More Renewable Energy

Utility Considers Adding up to 500 MW of Energy From Renewable Resources

TOPEKA, KS--(Marketwire - February 12, 2009) - Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) today announced that it is considering additional renewable energy resources by seeking bids for as much as 500 megawatts of renewable resources.

"Westar Energy continues to seek additional generation resources to provide for Kansas' electricity needs with clean, renewable energy," said Bill Moore, Westar Energy chief executive officer. "This is an important step in our support of our renewable energy goals."

Westar presently has 295 MW of wind resources representing 6 percent of its customers' peak demand. An additional 200 MW would have it meeting a 10 percent renewable level.

In the request for bids, Westar said it is evaluating up to 200 MW of the generation being online by late 2010 and the remainder online by late 2013.

The request invites firms to submit proposals wherein Westar Energy would own the facility after development and construction. Additionally, bidders may provide other options to Westar including entering into an agreement to sell to Westar the electricity produced at the facility or other options bidders believe would be attractive to Westar and its customers.

Westar requires that wind power proposals adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Kansas Energy Council. These guidelines address matters of interest to communities and natural resources near potential wind power sites. Westar is also requiring that all proposals address potential environmental impacts at proposed locations.

Proposals will be due March 30, at which time Westar Energy will begin reviewing the submissions. Westar's ultimate decision to add more renewable resources will hinge on overall costs, the status of state and federal policy on renewable resources, and regulatory treatment.

A complete copy of the request for proposals is available at the utility's Web site,

"Wind energy is already a valuable component of our generation portfolio," said Greg Greenwood, vice president, generation construction. "It will take a combination of several types of resources -- renewable, peaking and baseload -- to meet the future needs of our customers."

In 2007, Westar Energy solicited bids for renewable energy projects. Following that RFP, Westar launched the state's largest wind energy program with nearly 300 megawatts of renewable energy produced by three wind farms.

Westar Energy owns and operates the Central Plains Wind Farm in Wichita County near Leoti. That project is generating electricity today and is expected to be fully operational by early March 2009. The company owns half of power generation at Flat Ridge Wind Farm, located near Medicine Lodge in Barber County, and purchases the other half of the power produced through a power purchase agreement. That owned portion of the project is complete while the other half is generating electricity currently and is expected to be fully operational by early March 2009. Westar purchases nearly half of the power produced by the Meridian Way Wind Farm near Concordia in Cloud County through a power purchase agreement. Meridian Way became fully operational in December 2008.

Westar is also currently investing in transmission in areas of Kansas with good wind conditions for additional wind turbines and has plans to invest in additional transmission projects to unlock Kansas' vast wind power potential.

Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is the largest consolidated electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to more than 675,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has about 6,500 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates more than 33,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines.

For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at

Forward-looking statements: Certain matters discussed in this news release are "forward-looking statements." The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 has established that these statements qualify for safe harbors from liability. Forward-looking statements may include words like "believe," "anticipate," "target," "expect," "pro forma," "estimate," "intend," "guidance" or words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements describe future plans, objectives, expectations or goals. Although Westar Energy believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty. Therefore, actual results could vary materially from what we expect. Please review our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended Sept. 30, 2005 for important risk factors that could cause results to differ materially from those in any such forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date such statement was made, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement was made except as required by applicable laws or regulations.