Westar Energy, Inc.
) has received approval for the construction of a 345-kilovolt
Elm Creek transmission line project from Southwest Power Pool
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Westar Energy will build the southern half of this line, which
will cost approximately $67 million. The southern half runs from
Westar Energy's Summit Substation, about five miles northeast of
Assaria in Saline County, to the Elm Creek Substation,
approximately four miles northwest of Aurora in Cloud County. The
second half i.e. the northern half will be built by ITC Great
Plains, a unit of
ITC Holdings Corp.
), in conjunction with Mid Kansas Electric.
Under the SPP planning process, the projects' cost estimates are
evaluated at several steps. This confirms the economic benefits
that will be realized from the projects. Therefore, the SPP
approval demonstrates that the customers will be able to realize
economic benefits from this project. Moreover, this transmission
line will result in improving electric reliability and efficiency
in the region.
The company will file a route application with the Kansas
Corporation Commission ("KCC") and expects KCC to issue a
decision regarding the route later in 2013.
The company's ongoing investment in electrical infrastructure
will not only enhance electric reliability but will also provide
construction jobs and support ongoing economic growth. Apart from
serving its corporate social responsibilities via these projects,
the company is also doing well with respect to profit generation.
Recently, Westar Energy had announced fourth quarter pro forma
earnings of 36 cents per share, up 125% from year-ago earnings of
16 cents per share. The company's earnings significantly topped
the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 80%.
Other projects under Westar's belt that are expected to fetch
lucrative returns include the Ironwood Wind Power Project in Ford
and Hodgeman counties, the Post Rock Wind Farm located in
Ellsworth and Lincoln counties, Prairie Wind joint venture and
Westar Energy's ReliabiliTree program. The company presently
retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Besides Westar, other stocks worth the consideration are
Pike Electric Corporation
CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
). While Pike Electric carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),
CenterPoint (CNP) carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Westar Energy, Inc., an electric utility, engages in the
generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in
Kansas. It produces electricity through various sources,
including coal, wind, nuclear, natural gas, oil, and diesel. The
company is also involved in energy marketing activities, and the
purchase and sale of electricity in the wholesale market.