Wind energy powering jobs, revenue, report says

Wind energy development in Kansas has produced more than 12,000 jobs, economic benefits for landowners, and put downward pressure on electric rates, according to a study released Monday by a pro-wind group.

“The Sunflower State has one of the best wind resources in the nation, and the leadership in Kansas should be applauded for harvesting the economic benefits of wind in a thoughtful manner that has helped control electricity rates,” said Jeff Clark, executive director of The Wind Coalition. The coalition is composed of wind developers, manufacturers, and others in eight south-central states, including Kansas.

The report was put together by members of the Polsinelli Shughart’s Wind Energy Practice in partnership with the Kansas Energy Information Network.

The report states:
• Utility filings of actual costs of new non-baseload generation indicate that wind energy generation is equivalent to, or in some cases cheaper than, new natural gas peaking generation;

• Kansas wind generation has created a total of 3,484 construction jobs, 262 operation and maintenance jobs, and 8,569 indirect and induced jobs for Kansas citizens;

• Kansas wind generation has created revenues of more than $273 million for landowners; and more than $208 million for community organizations and local and county governments;

• The Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has become an important economic development tool for attracting new businesses to the state. This requires that major utilities to have 20 percent of their energy capacity from renewable sources by 2020.