Kansas set to lead nation in renewable energy

Source: By Sarah Motter, WIBW • Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, wind turbines are silhouetted against the sky at dawn...
FILE – In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, wind turbines are silhouetted against the sky at dawn near Spearville, Kan. Evergy, Kansas’ largest electric company expects to make its first big investments in solar energy over the next three years and increase wind generating capacity with the goal to produce no net carbon emissions as of 2045. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)((AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File))

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Kansas is positioned to lead the nation in the transition to renewable energy.

Boost Kansas, an initiative of the American Clean Power Association says in 2020, the renewable energy industry had an exciting year, and Kansas is a leader with success in wind and solar energy developments. It said the newly released Clean Power Annual from the American Clean Power Association notes the Sunflower State is a national leader in renewable energy, with over 43% of the state’s electricity coming from renewable sources, ranking second in the nation. It said the report shows Kansas’ ability to increase jobs and investment while maximizing energy efficiency throughout the state.

According to Boost Kansas, renewable energy is powering Kansas in more than one way. It said wind and solar power are economic drivers. It said clean power developments have brought $12.7 billion in capital investment and support nearly 3,100 jobs. In 2020 alone, it said renewable energy projects paid out $32.3 million in land lease payments to ranchers and farmers across the state, which provided much-needed sources of reliable income throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It said the report shows that Kansas generates over 7,000 MW of electricity from renewable sources, which is equal to powering at least 2.8 million homes, accounting for more homes than Kansas has in the state. It said renewables serve as a cash crop for Kansas, allowing exportation and reinforcement of regional transmission organization.

Across industries, Boost Kansas said more companies look to power their businesses with renewable energy, and Kansas stands to benefit from that. It said thanks to an abundance of wind and sun, the state’s renewable energy operation attracts development from major companies like Home Depot, Target and Amazon, which brings even more jobs to the state.

“As a state of the great plains, Kansas is uniquely positioned for growth in wind and solar energy,” said David Toland, Kansas Secretary of Commerce. “Our stellar record of renewable energy development has put our state on the map, attracting businesses that demand renewables as a part of their portfolio to the great state of Kansas.”

According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boost Kansas said that wind technicians are the first fastest-growing career for the decade while solar installers are ranked third. For Kansas residents, it said the growth of the state’s renewable energy industry means job growth and increased revenue.

“Kansas has seen tremendous growth in renewable energy,” said Gary Yager, President and CEO of Vision Bank in Topeka. “I am excited to see further renewable energy development for the economic and environmental future of the state.”

Boost Kansas said the report notes that 19.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions have been saved through renewable energy production in Kansas in 2020 alone. It said wind and solar power have some of the lowest environmental impacts compared to other sources of energy. It said the clean power industry powers the local economy while preserving the state’s natural resources, while also bringing cleaner air to Kansas communities.

According to the initiative, clean energy in the U.S. topped 170,378 MW and now has enough wind and solar energy capacity to power 50 million homes, which is over a third of the nation’s houses. In 2020, it said annual land-lease payments from clean power projects totaled $800 million, which provided an additional income to America’s ranchers and farmers. It said state and local tax revenue from clean power projects across the nation reached $1.7 billion in 2020, and over 415,000 Americans worked in the clean power industry.

Boost Kansas said a bipartisan infrastructure plan that is making its way through Congress would spur on these benefits even more. It said the plan would include $73 billion in funding for clean energy transmission and updated power infrastructure. It said Kansas is set to lead the nation toward reliable, affordable and renewable energy.

To read the full report, click HERE.