Pioneer Electric Sends Two Local Students to Washington, D.C.

Pioneer Electric proudly sent Autumn Deyoe and Mia Rock to represent Pioneer Electric on the 2018 Youth Tour. These students joined 37 other representatives from electric cooperatives across the state of Kansas in a week-long tour of Washington, D.C.

“These are some outstanding young adults,” said Rae Gorman, Manager of Energy Services.  “Our hope is that this experience has encouraged these students to build lasting skills that they will be able to bring back to their communities.”

Heglin and Wilken enjoyed touring various museums, attended a professional baseball game, met with state and national legislators, viewed historical monuments and walked through the White House.

In addition to seeing all the sights, the two also enjoyed meeting other delegations of students at the National Rural Electric Cooperative’s Youth Program. The program brought together more than 1,800 students from across the nation together. Motivational speakers, activities and more greeted the youth as they enjoyed an evening of creating new friendships.

Youth Tour is sponsored each year by Pioneer Electric and other participating electric cooperatives. For additional information regarding the program, contact Drew Waechter at dwaechter@pioneerelectric.coop or visit here.

Johnson Corner Solar Project Ground Breaking

Courtesy of Sunflower Power Corporation

Eighty-four degrees and bright sunshine, the perfect weather for Sunflower Electric Power Corp.  and Mid-Kansas Electric Company to celebrate the groundbreaking of the 20-MW Johnson Corner Solar Project on June 17, 2019. A 25-year power purchase agreement was made with Lightsource BP, an independent power producer that will build, own and operate the solar facility. The facility will be located approximately two miles southwest of Johnson City, Kan.

U.S. First District Congressman Roger Marshall, dignitaries from Mid-Kansas, Sunflower, Lightsource BP and the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, and guests attended the event at the Stanton County 4-H Building in Johnson City, Kan.

“The Johnson Corner Solar Project will be the largest solar project in Kansas, and that’s definitely something to celebrate,” said U.S. Rep. Roger MarshalI. “I congratulate Sunflower, Mid-Kansas, Lightsource BP, and NRCO on their successful collaboration to launch this project.”

The project was announced in February 2018 with an expected completion date in late 2019. However, in the fourth quarter of 2018, Lightsource BP requested a schedule extension to allow them to package the Johnson Corner Solar Project with several others so they could achieve more favorable financing terms.

The solar project will add another fuel source to Sunflower’s and Mid-Kansas’ generation portfolio that already includes natural gas, coal, wind, and small amount of hydro.

“The solar project is an example of fuel diversification to generate electricity,” said Steve Epperson, Mid-Kansas chairman of the board and Sunflower board member. “As locally elected boards of directors, we have a responsibility to employ the right combination of traditional and renewable generation resources that protect both the affordability and reliability of electricity.”

The facility will produce approximately 55,500 megawatt hours annually, comprising one percent of the Mid-Kansas and Sunflower combined-system’s energy.

“Our system is summer peaking, which means energy demand is highest during those months,” said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Mid-Kansas and Sunflower. “In contrast to wind facilities, which generate the most energy during winter night hours, this project will generate energy on hot, summer days, providing protection against high market prices during those times.”

Locating the solar facility at Sunflower’s Johnson Corner Substation will also reduce loading on an area transmission line that is importing energy at its full capacity and would require expensive upgrades without the local energy injection provided by the future Johnson Corner Solar Project.

Construction will begin in August, and the facility is scheduled to be energized in the first quarter of 2020.

Be on the Lookout for Summer Safety Hazards

Summertime is upon us in southwest Kansas, bringing long and busy days. Pioneer Electric Cooperative wants all of our consumer-members to take the time this season to make sure everyone returns home at night, safe and sound.

Electricity is an important part of everyday life and our commitment to using electricity safely is important. The flick of a switch can heat, cool, light, cook, clean and entertain. Electricity is a powerful servant, but can also be dangerous if it isn’t treated with caution and respect. Educating individuals about the dangers of electricity is imperative. This is especially true for children. At your cooperative, we’re committed to promoting a healthy respect for electricity and teaching individuals to spot potential electrical hazards.

We conduct safety demonstrations at schools, farms, businesses and other venues throughout our service territory. These presentations are designed to raise awareness of potential safety hazards. The use of an energized model helps presentations be both enlightening and entertaining.

We want all of our members to be safe when dealing with electricity, whether it is while working near power lines or encountering it during the course of your day. From farmers to lifeguards, it is important that everyone treat electricity with respect and have the knowledge to stay safe.

The best way to prevent electrical shock is to stay away from potential hazards. You should never work on live or energized electrical equipment—it is dangerous if you are not qualified to do so.
Never open electric panels. Opening the panel increases the chance of getting shocked or setting off an arc flash.

Above all, stay alert. Assume all equipment is fully energized with electricity. Do not think that just because someone is working around an electrical hazard they have de-energized the equipment. Always be on the lookout for hazards, whether they are labeled or not, and be prepared to stop working, protect those around you, and get help to take care of the situation as fast and as safely as you can.