Opinion Columns & Blogs

Alternative energy still growing, blowing

When Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature changed the state’s renewable energy standard from a mandate to a goal two years ago, some feared it could put the brakes on alternative energy development in Kansas. But that hasn’t happened. Kansas wind power generation grew 18 percent in 2016. And companies are continuing to develop alternative energy. The Kingman and Ninnescah wind farms were dedicated this week. And last month, the first utility-scale solar energy farm in the Wichita area – the Prairie Sky Solar Farm – was dedicated northeast of Andover. Also, Westar Energy has blown past the renewable portfolio standard – 20 percent renewable by 2020. Wind now accounts for about 30 percent of its generation. Developers now see potential for selling power to other states and plan to continue to invest in alternative energy. That’s good news for the environment and the Kansas economy. – Phillip Brownlee