News
March 22, 2021

At a press conference in the Kansas Statehouse, Am Law 100 firm Polsinelli released today its Annual Economic Impacts of Kansas Wind Energy 2020 Report. The report examines the economic impacts of wind generation of the State of Kansas and local economies and contains critical information about the wind industry.

Polsinelli’s national Energy Practice Group, which represents public utilities, fossil-fuel, oil and gas, and renewable energy developers in projects throughout the country, has authored the report, which consolidates empirical, factual data drawn from publicly-available studies, filings and other sources.

“There could not be a more critical time for us to share this report that includes a wealth of information about the economic impacts of wind energy on the State of Kansas and beyond,” said Polsinelli Energy Practice Vice Chair Alan Claus Anderson, who is one of the authors of the report. “From the recent severe weather and managed power curtailment to the Senate Bill 279 that’s currently in session, wind energy is timely and more important that ever.”

Polsinelli’s 2020 report includes new empirical data from the operating projects in Kansas, regulatory filings before the Kansas Corporation Commission, and nonpartisan academic sources to further examine the economic impacts of wind generation for state and local economies. The report’s key findings include:

  • Wind energy often provides the lowest costs for consumers. With costs routinely under $20 per megawatt-hour (“MWh”) of generation, new wind generation in Kansas is now commonly less expensive than energy from traditional sources, including intermittent or low peaking natural gas generation, and is almost always the lowest cost energy resource available.
  • Wind energy provides stability through a diverse portfolio as an important part of a well-designed electricity offering. By including wind farms in traditional electricity portfolios, utility companies are able to better hedge against potential increases in the price of coal and natural gas over the next 20 years, thus allowing them to better serve customers.
  • Wind energy creates both upfront and ongoing jobs for Kansans. By 2020, there were 22,002 total jobs created in Kansas. Wind generation has created and continues to create jobs for Kansas’ citizens.

Jobs Created by Kansas Wind Generation

 

Total Impact

Per Avg. Project
(200 MW)

Total Jobs Created

22,002

602

Construction Phase

8,682

238

Operation Phase

563

16

Indirect/Induced Jobs
(per U.S. Dept. of Energy)

12,757

349

 

  • Wind energy provides additional revenue for the state. Wind generation from currently operating wind projects will bring over $1.61 Billion in direct economic benefits to Kansas counties and landowners through contribution agreement payments, property tax payments and lease payments.

Additional Economic Benefits of Kansas Wind Generation

 

Total Impact

Per Avg. Project
(200 MW)

Landowner Lease Payments

Annually

$48,111,890

$1,317,051

Over 20-Year Project
Life

$962,237,800

$26,341,029

Donation Agreements and Property Tax

Payments $657,726,485 $18,005,105

 

As noted in the report, recent regulatory filings show that wind projects are providing Kansas’ utilities with low cost power, and wind is now the least expensive form of generations per MWh compared to other forms of intermittent or peaking electricity generation. As a result, adding new wind generation saves retail customers money when compared to the rate impact that would be caused by continuing to operate more expensive fossil fuel generation or adding other forms of new generation.

“Wind energy production has been proven to create new jobs and capital investment in Kansas,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The wind energy sector employs thousands of Kansans and contributes many millions of dollars in investments to our state each year. Our commitment to wind and other renewable energy gives us an edge when businesses are looking to invest in new operations, and helps provide affordable energy for businesses and Kansans and their families.”

The report also finds that wind generation is an important part of a well-designed electricity generation portfolio, and provides a hedge against future cost volatility of fossil fuels. Wind generation plays an important role in balancing a utility’s load demands and offsetting volatile fuel costs. Utilities use wind generation to offset the future cost volatility of fossil fuels against the known costs of wind generation. As the total amount of wind in the southwest power pool reaches higher penetration, it eliminates the need for the least efficient and most expensive coal or natural gas power plants entirely, leading to savings to Kansas ratepayers.

Also discussed in the report, wind generation has created a significant positive impact for Kansas landowners and provided resources for areas of the local economy that would otherwise remain underfunded, through donation agreements and community contributions.

The 2020 Annual Economic Impacts of Kansas Wind Energy Report is authored by Polsinelli attorneys Alan Claus Anderson, Luke Hagedorn, and Andrew Schulte. 

About Polsinelli

Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with 900 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Recognized by legal research firm BTI Consulting as one of the top firms for excellent client service and client relationships, the firm’s attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight, and focus on health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, middle-market corporate, labor and employment and business litigation. Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California.