Newton Kansas, which has ranked among the top 10 states for wind energy-producing potential, has fallen short of that potential, according to an expert at Kansas State University.
The state has nearly tripled its wind capacity in the past two years, but Ruth Douglas Miller, director of Kansas State’s Wind Applications Center, said dated infrastructure used to transmit wind energy is holding Kansas back.
“We’re in a position to send wind energy to Oklahoma and Nebraska pretty easily,” but delivering the energy to the east or west coasts is a challenge, Miller told the Newton Kansan. “You have to move that wind quite a distance.”
The Kansan reported that other top states for wind resources include top-ranked Texas, Montana, Nebraska and Oklahoma. North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming and New Mexico also made the Top 10, according to a recent U.S. Department of Energy study.
With many of the wind-producing states concentrated in the middle of the country, and challenges in transporting and storing wind-generated energy, tapping that potential is many years off, Miller said.
She said the infrastructure that would help Kansas power California with its wind, for example, doesn’t exist.
While a few transmission lines are being updated, and will likely be completed by 2012 or 2013, a transmission system capable of moving wind energy from the Midwest to the coasts would be many years away, she said.
Miller said the federal government also would have to get involved in creating national transmission systems.
She said dividing the cost among states importing and exporting the energy, not to mention the states those transmission lines would have to run through, isn’t feasible without federal assistance.