Archive for Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Governor says state has just “scratched the surface” as Kansas wind energy conference starts

October 6, 2009


After a slow start, Kansas is starting to live up to its wind energy potential, officials said Tuesday.

The state’s 1,000 megawatts of wind energy ranks seventh in the nation, major transmission line projects are starting to ramp up, and Kansas recently won a highly sought-after wind turbine manufacturing facility.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson in opening the 10th annual Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference.

But, Parkinson added, “We’ve just scratched the surface.”

Because Kansas is ranked No. 3 in terms of wind energy potential, Parkinson and others said the state has a lot more wind energy to develop.

Approximately 700 people crowded the sold-out conference, hosted at the Ramada Inn by the Kansas Corporation Commission and Kansas Department of Commerce. Energy companies and vendors jammed the hotel with information booths.

James Walker, vice chair of the board of enXco, a leading developer of wind projects, and past president of the American Wind Energy Association, said that Kansas should “keep on doing what you’re doing.”

The growth in wind energy in Kansas and nationally has been phenomenal, he said. In 2008, wind power contributed 42 percent of new generating capacity in the nation, and added 35,000 new jobs.

He said the key to further development is passage in Congress of legislation setting caps on climate change gases and enacting renewable energy standards, which would require increasing amounts of wind energy in future years. He said if Congress fails to pass the cap and trade legislation “as a fallback we should have a renewable energy standard with real teeth.”

One of the high points of wind development in Kansas this year, has been the decision by Siemens Energy Inc. to build a nacelle assembly plant in Hutchinson. The nacelle is the unit that houses the gearbox, drive train and control equipment on wind turbines.

The giant German-based company plans to employ some 400 people and hopes to deliver the first nacelle in December 2010, and produce about 650 each year.

Guido Reuter, director of procurement for Siemen’s Wind Power in the Americas, said Hutchison bested 80 locations vying for the plant.

He said Hutchinson’s central location, incentive packages and the cooperation of local and state officials made it the unanimous choice to fit in Siemen’s strategy to build turbines for the growing U.S. demand.

“Kansas is now a major part of that global footprint,” he said.


Danimal 8 years, 5 months ago

Really, Ze Germans are going to build our wind turbines for us? Or more appropriately, we'll build them, and most of the money will go back to The Fatherland. Really good America, just great.

booze_buds_03 8 years, 5 months ago

This is a global economy if you had not noticed. Americans don't build everything

Keith 8 years, 5 months ago

"booze_buds_03 (Anonymous) says… This is a global economy if you had not noticed. Americans don't build everything"

or anything, for that matter.

devobrun 8 years, 5 months ago

If we build more gigawatts of wind power generators, we will have to build an equal amount of coal or natural gas backups. This really will be a big deal in engineering, construction, operations and taxes for the state.

The wind part will be designed by the Germans. Kansas has the engineers and the expertise in state to design the fossil fuel plants required for backup.

Now, if battery technology can jump ahead about 3X, Kansas will be in the catbird seat as far as future energy is concerned. Natural gas pipelines from Texas and Wyoming along with coal from Wyoming and manufacturing on site of the windmills............

Followed by manufacturing that needs energy.......

Looks a lot better than real estate investment doesn't it, Mark?

tbaker 8 years, 5 months ago

If Kansas state government is so sold on the idea, how come they won't offer any income tax incentives (credit or deduction) to folks who put up private wind generators? All you get is the "no change" to property tax evaluation, which doesn't cost the state anything.

Isn't it nice that the state government is willing to soak the local tax base for their green energy ideas, while spending state tax dollars on incentives for Siemen’s? I'm all for attracting business, but put our money where your mouth is Mr. Governor.

BTW Devobrun - You are spot on. Wind power is (presently) the most expensive electricity p/kw/h there is because of the need for the back-up power plants. The chemist / engineer geeks I know in the power business tell me that by the time we have battery technology to the point wind farms will no longer need conventional "slave" power plants to take up their slack, the bio-engineers will have finally perfected the enzyme they need to economically distill ethanol / methanol from bio mass, and run power plants on that stuff (not to mention transportation fuel). The battery people are in a race.

tbaker 8 years, 5 months ago

Tom - you are a rascal for trying to stir it up on this tame little green blog. You're baiting P2 aren't you.

lounger 8 years, 5 months ago

Consumer1-Dont be daft! Our former governor was all about wind power. Kathy was all over it!!!

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