Fort Hays State University's President, Dr. Edward Hammond,
had a vision to include renewable energy on campus and through his persistence
a wind energy project was realized. Many challenges existed and were solved
along the way. Originally the project was intended to be installed adjacent to
the SuperRAND Radar Facility just west of campus but a new city ordinance
required wind turbines to be installed outside a 3-mile boundary line from the
city. New land was identified adjacent to FHSU property. WECC drafted initial
land lease and easement agreements and successfully negotiated the final terms
of these agreements and the project had a new home.
WECC was tasked with developing the entire project and
worked with the University to site the turbines on the new land in compliance
with local zoning regulations through creation and presentation of a formal
Development Plan. Both the City of Hays and Ellis County have planning
requirements that needed to be satisfied through the creation of a development plan covering topics including, but not limited to: Complete project plan;
decommissioning plan; transportation plan; Roads Agreement; environmental and ecological
assessments; land acquisition and agreements; and, civil, structural and
electrical engineering design.
For the FHSU project WECC debuted a new approach to public
sector project development designed to give the client more control over design
and to reduce costs. Identifying and negotiating the purchase of the wind
turbine and maintenance agreement separately from the Request for Proposal
(RFP) for the balance of work allowed the client to save on the purchase of the
turbine and to get a solution that is tailor made for their unique situation.
By using our own team of civil, structural, and electrical engineers we were
better able to control the design of the project to provide a system of checks
and balances, improve technical quality, and to reduce costs for the client.
After identifying a suitable wind turbine for the project
and beginning negotiations with the manufacturer, WECC drafted the Request for
Proposal (RFP) and began work on the permit submissions for the city and county. Bids from contractors were analyzed and recommendations made to the
University. WECC negotiated the Turbine Supply Agreement (TSA) and Operating
& Maintenance (O&M) Agreement.
WECC provided direct oversight and financial management
throughout project construction from initial site work through to commissioning
interconnection. WECC negotiated with the Utility the interconnection agreement
on behalf of the University along with a ‘buy-back’ agreement for excess
electricity generated. Project oversight throughout the course of the project
serves to relieve the client of trying to manage a complicated and unfamiliar
process that they also might not have the manpower to properly oversee. Project close-out included detailed final
report and full compilation of Project technical, financial, contractual,
management and planning documents.
Six or seven years ago Fort Hays State University began discussing development of a wind generation facility to support its energy needs while “fixing” the cost of a significant portion of that need. When we had taken the project as far as we could we began looking for help.
We were referred to WECC by a member of our alumni. In the early phase of the project WECC staff provided us with the feasibility study needed to make the decision to proceed. From there, WECC, working with University staff, developed a plan for completing the project.
They provided the necessary expertise to negotiate with suppliers, general contractors, local government and the local utility. They managed the project from beginning to end.
Without WECC, and particularly Wayne Hildreth, the project would not have been completed as successfully as it has been. Our expectations of the consultant were exceeded in every aspect.
Michael W. Barnett
Vice President for Administration and Finance , Fort Hays State University