Topeka — Kansas has more wind energy projects under construction than any other state, according to a wind industry report released Thursday.
The state has more than $2 billion worth of wind projects under construction at the moment, the American Wind Energy Association reported.
AWEA also said Kansas has become a wind turbine manufacturing hub with the new Siemens facility in Hutchinson and some 3,000 wind-related jobs throughout the state.
In addition to ranking first with 1,189 megawatts of wind projects under construction, Kansas ranked seventh for wind energy as a percentage of total energy portfolio at 8.3 percent. South Dakota ranked first at 22.3 percent.
The industry group said wind power enjoyed a strong year of double-digit growth in the United States, but needed Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit to keep up the momentum.
“In hard economic times we’re creating jobs and delivering clean, affordable electricity,” AWEA Chief Executive Officer Denise Bode stressed. “But we will lose all these consumer benefits and a brand-new, growing manufacturing sector if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire. Businesses need certainty. That is why it is urgent that Congress extend the PTC now or risk losing a bright new manufacturing sector,” Bode said.
Gov. Sam Brownback has also been a supporter of extending the tax credit. In February, he and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad urged key members of Congress to approve it, saying without the credit, wind development would grind to a halt.
“The wind energy sector is an American success story that is helping us build our manufacturing base, create jobs, lower energy costs and strengthen our energy security,” the governors said.