State's alternative energy in spotlight

10/12/2010 12:00 AM

10/12/2010 6:42 AM

The annual Kansas Energy Conference today and Wednesday at Century II will showcase the progress and problems of alternative energy in Kansas.

The conference is sponsored by the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

It will be attended by about 500 managers and engineers from the public and private sectors. There will also be a trade show with 65 exhibitors.

Headline speaker Mike Revak, vice president for sales and proposals at Siemens Wind Power America, will give an update on the status of the U.S. wind energy industry.

Other topics include:

* Moving cars from liquid fuel to electricity

* Building a smart grid, a way to make the electrical grid more efficient, including examples in Kansas

* Getting into the wind energy manufacturing supply chain

* Small wind generation for individual buildings

* New biomass technologies

* More experimental technologies such as methane and groundsource heat pumps

* Updates on improving the regional power grid

The state has spent considerable time and effort over the past decade to build up its alternative energy industries, particularly wind and ethanol. The state hopes to benefit if those industries grab larger slices of the energy market.

The energy conference will not address the oil and gas industries, said Ray Hammarlund, director of the Kansas Energy Office, which is part of the KCC.

Hammarlund said oil and gas already has a strong and self-sufficient presence through its industry group, the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association.

"We know that KIOGA has a conference and we let them do oil and gas," he said. "We do wind, solar, biomass, energy efficiency, smart grid and the Kansas consumer."

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