News
November 19, 2012

Does Wind Energy Development Create Jobs in Kansas?

Kansas is fortunate to be in a position to truly be a leader in an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Over the last few years, there have been attempts to predict wind energy’s impact on the Kansas economy based upon various economic models, but there has not been a study that utilizes actual empirical data from Kansas projects. To address this need, members of Polsinelli Shughart’s Wind Energy Practice, in partnership with the Kansas Energy Information Network, have prepared a report for the Kansas Legislature that analyzes empirical data from the nineteen wind projects currently in operation or under construction in the state of Kansas, with the goal of quantifying the true economic impacts of wind generation in the state.

Some of the key findings from the Report are as follows:

• Utility filings of actual costs of new non-baseload generation indicate that wind energy generation is equivalent to, or in some cases significantly 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 over $273 million for landowners;
• Kansas wind generation has created revenues of over $208 million for community organizations and local and county governments; and
• The Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has become an important economic development tool for attracting new businesses to the state.

“With most of the requirements of the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard already met, we don’t need to guess about wind generation’s economic impacts for the state of Kansas. The empirical data that is available from Kansas’ current wind projects demonstrates that the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard has been more than cost competitive with other new sources of electricity generation. It has also been a benefit to local communities, particularly those in rural areas and provides electricity generation diversity, economic development and an intelligent hedge against rising costs of fossil fuels,” said Energy Practice Group Vice-Chair Alan Claus Anderson. Britton Gibson, shareholder in the Polsinelli Shughart Energy Practice Group, said “We’re happy to be able to make this information available to the decision makers and people of Kansas as they evaluate and form Kansas’ energy policy.”

The authors of the report will present their findings to the Kansas Joint Committee on Energy and Environmental Policy in an open meeting on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. The Committee meeting will be held in Room 152 South of the Kansas State Capitol, with the report findings expected to be discussed between 9:45 and 10:45 a.m.

The authors are available for interviews prior to and following the presentation. For comment, contact Polsinelli Shughart Energy Practice Group Vice Chair Alan Claus Anderson at aanderson@polsinelli.com, or by phone at (913) 234-7464 or (785) 218-8497.

To see a copy of the study click here