Monday, June 22, 2009

Study outlines state’s renewable energy potential

A new study from the American Council on Renewable Energy reports previous estimates for Kansas’ renewable energy future may be far less than the actual potential.

According to the ACORE study, Kansas could be poised to meet a 200 percent renewable energy standard. The report found the state is currently exploiting less than 1 percent of its wind energy potential. At a peak production rate, ACORE found Kansas could be producing 19 gigawatts of wind-generated power by 2024.

Combined with other means of renewable energy, such as solar and geothermal, and Kansas could reach 20 gigawatts of generation — resulting in a renewable energy standard of 200 percent.

The same report found the economic impact through the manufacturing of the equipment needed to exploit this potential — primarily wind turbines and high-voltage transmission lines ­— could be and additional 11,000 jobs and $1.97 billion in investments for the state.

Nancy Jackson, executive director of the Climate and Energy Project, said in a written statement that she hopes the report will spark further discussion about how Kansas can reach its renewable potential.

“Previous forecasts for Kansas wind development may have fallen far short of what the nation will ask of the Heartland,” she said. “Certainly we need to know more about the cost to consumers and environmental impacts, ... but at this point it seems clear — if we build it, they will come.”

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