From Kansas - The State Of Unexpected

How Renewables Power A State Economy

The windswept plains of Kansas harness enough energy to power the future.

Photo courtesy of Kansas Dept. of Commerce

he next time you drive through Kansas, take a moment and reflect on the importance of those windswept prairies that cover the landscape of this Central U.S. state. In addition to producing the grains that feed much of the world, they harness enough wind energy to provide electric power to every single home in the state for two years.

Kansas currently supplies 7% of all wind energy generated in the U.S. and ranks behind only Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa in that regard. Wind power provides 41% of all electricity generated in Kansas — the second-largest share for any state.

Kansas currently ranks among the top four states for operating wind farms, with more than 6,100 megawatts of windmills in operation. That represents a combined capital investment of $11.4 billion. Kansas is also a major supplier of ethanol and biodiesel production; and in recent years the state has become a welcoming destination for solar farm investments.

This is a major reason why Kansas ranks below the national average with a 14.77 cents-per-kilowatt-hour price of electricity. Potential industrial power customers will also be pleased to know that in terms of North American energy sector competitiveness, Kansas is the fourth most attractive state in the U.S. for oil and gas investment, according to the Fraser Institute.

Two of the largest power companies in Kansas are Evergy and ONE Gas. Evergy is an investor-owned utility that serves more than 1.6 million power customers in Kansas and Missouri. Its service territory stretches 316 miles west to east and 325 miles north to south. Altogether, Evergy has 62,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines and over 800 power substations. It takes more than 5,000 employees to deliver over 13,000 megawatts of energy generated by Evergy to the firm’s customers in Kansas and Missouri.

Kansas ranks below the national average with a 14.77 cents-per-kilowatt-hour price of electricity.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Association

At Kansas Gas Service, a division of ONE Gas, a full-service economic development team stands ready to assist industrial clients looking to expand in the state. “Our vision is to be a premier natural gas distribution company, creating exceptional value for our customers and the communities we service,” the company states on its economic development website. “We’re dedicated to supporting regional growth and delivering natural gas for a better tomorrow. We want to partner with you on innovative and forward-thinking solutions to support your development initiatives and growth strategy.”

Sustainability is Job One at ONE Gas

Sustainability is a primary goal at ONE Gas. According to the firm’s 2021 annual report highlights, the company plans to achieve 55% reduction in emissions due to leaks from distribution pipelines by 2035, measured from a 2005 baseline. The company recently replaced 430 miles of distribution mains, service lines and transmission lines.

The company also reduced 35,926 metric tons of carbon dioxide through its energy efficiency programs. That is the equivalent of removing 7,741 passenger vehicles from the road. These and other efficiency-driving measures helped propel ONE Gas to a 90.6% overall customer satisfaction score.

On the industrial electricity side, Evergy works closely with economic development groups around the state to close deals and bring increased corporate facility investment to Kansas.

Its four target industry sectors are aerospace, automotive, data centers and manufacturing. Evergy also constantly invests in its own diverse energy portfolio.

For example, Evergy has increased generation of renewables by more than 1,250% over the past decade. The firm now ranks as one of the top renewable energy providers in the Central U.S. region. Evergy has invested nearly $1.8 billion into renewable energy generation and now produces 50% of its customers’ power through renewables.

Databases, Incentives & Certified Sites

Site selectors will like what they find in Kansas too. Evergy provides a suite of site selection services to its customers. This includes location analysis through search tools like LOIS — LocationOne Information System. Using LOIS, customers can identify buildings and sites that meet their search criteria for development or expansion.

On top of that, Evergy stands ready to connect qualifying businesses with state and local incentives. This includes a special Economic Development Rider Incentive. This enables eligible businesses to receive a discounted electric rate on their energy bill for five years.

Evergy also maintains a Certified Sites program that includes fully shovel-ready pads at 16 industrial parks around the state.

Coops Serve Rural Communities

Kansas is also home to Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc. (KEPCo). Based in Topeka, KEPCo is a non-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative that supplies reliable power for its 16 distribution cooperative members at a market-competitive cost. KEPCo provides a wide range of services including rural economic development assistance, energy efficiency rebates, load and power cost forecasting, and various system enhancement projects.

KEPCo is governed by a board of 16 trustees and collectively serves more than 75,000 consumers in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas. KEPCo is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, a national network of electric coops serving more than 32 million customers in 46 states.

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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