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Report: Kansas Positioned to Lead Nation's Renewable Energy Transition
Kansas Ag Connection - 08/03/2021

In 2020, the renewable energy industry had a banner year, and Kansas is a leader with its success in wind and solar energy developments. The newly released Clean Power Annual from the American Clean Power Association (ACP) notes Kansas as a national leader in renewable energy, with 43.4 percent of Kansas' electricity coming from renewable sources, ranking second in the nation. The report highlights Kansas' ability to increase jobs and investment while maximizing energy efficiency across the state.

Renewable energy is powering Kansas in more ways than one; wind and solar power are economic drivers. Clean power developments have brought $12.7 billion in cumulative capital investment and support 3,096 jobs in Kansas. In 2020 alone, renewable energy projects paid out $32.3 million in land lease payments to ranchers and farmers across the state, providing a much-needed source of reliable income throughout the pandemic. ACP's report noted that Kansas generates 7,058 MW of electricity from renewable sources -- the equivalent of powering at least 2.8 million homes, which accounts for more homes than Kansas has in the state. Renewables serve as a cash crop for the state, allowing exportation and reinforcement of the regional transmission organization.

Across industries, more companies are looking to power their operations with renewable energy, and Kansas stands to benefit. Thanks to an abundance of wind and sunshine, Kansas renewable energy operations are attracting development from major companies like Home Depot, Target, and Amazon, bringing even more jobs to the state.

"As a state of the great plains, Kansas is uniquely positioned for growth in wind and solar energy," said David Toland, Kansas Secretary of Commerce. "Our stellar record of renewable energy development has put our state on the map, attracting businesses that demand renewables as a part of their portfolio to the great state of Kansas."

A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that wind technicians rank as the first fastest-growing career for the decade while solar installers ranked third. For Kansas residents, the growth of the state's renewable energy industry means job growth and increased revenue.

"Kansas has seen tremendous growth in renewable energy," said Gary Yager, President and CEO of Vision Bank in Topeka. "I am excited to see further renewable energy development for the economic and environmental future of the state."

The report notes that 19.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions were saved through renewable energy production in Kansas last year. Wind and solar power have some of the lowest environmental impacts compared to other energy sources. The clean power industry is powering the local economy while preserving the state's natural resources, all while bringing cleaner air to communities.

Clean energy in the U.S. topped 170,378 MW and now has enough wind and solar energy capacity to power the equivalent of 50 million homes -- more than a third of the nation's houses. In 2020, annual land-lease payments from clean power projects totaled $800 million, providing an additional income stream to America's ranchers and farmers. State and local tax revenue from clean power projects across the nation reached $1.7 billion last year, and more than 415,000 Americans worked in the clean power industry in 2020.

A bipartisan infrastructure plan making its way through Congress would spur on these benefits even more. This plan would include $73 billion in funding for clean energy transmission and updated power infrastructure. Kansas is set to lead the county toward reliable, affordable, renewable energy.

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