Westar Energy wished upon a star, and the answer was -- "focus on power utility resources." Westar Energy has a generating capacity of more than 6,780 MW (mostly from fossil-fueled facilities) and serves about 688,000 electricity customers in Kansas through its utility subsidiaries. Westar Energy supplies power to retail customers in central and northeastern Kansas, and subsidiary Kansas Gas and Electric (KGE) supplies power to retail customers in south-central and southeastern Kansas. The company operates 34,500 miles of transmission and distribution lines. It supplies wholesale electric power to more than 30 cities in Kansas and four electric cooperatives that serve rural areas.
In 2011 Westar Energy generated 51% of its power capacity from coal plants, 41% from natural gas and oil facilities, and 8% from nuclear sources (KGE owns 47% of the Wolf Creek Generating Station nuclear power plant), and less than 1% from wind power.
Like other utilities, the company faces the challenge of needing to increase power capacity while decreasing carbon emissions in order to meet stricter environmental regulations. Some 50% of its Westar Energy's strategic plan to meet future demand includes investing in renewable power plants and in cleaner-burning traditional generation plants. It is also investing in transmission projects, upgrading environmental controls at existing plants, and providing customers with the tools (smart meters) and knowledge (conservation information) to help them to become more energy-efficient. The company invested $200 million in 2011 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its traditional power plants, and planned to invest a further $1 billion in additional remediation projects by 2015.
In 2011 Westar Energy generated 300 MW from wind energy resources at three sites in Kansas. In 2012, the company signed a long term power supply agreement for 370 MW of addtional wind power from a third party.
Westar Energy reported a rise in revenues and income in 2010, primarily due to a rate increase and weather-related spiked in energy use. Revenues jumped by almost 6% in 2011, led by stronger industrial demand for power, reflecting a recovering economy, and by warmer weather driving up residential and commercial demand. Net income grew by 13%, as higher revenues outpaced an increase in operating costs.