Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback expressed his support for wind energy infrastructure projects at the Heartland Transmission Conference today at Hutchinson Community College. The governor addressed more than 100 stakeholders at the event, which focused on expanding and modernizing the electrical grid for the Heartland's clean energy future.
"The renewable energy sector of the Kansas economy cannot reach its full potential without increased transmission capacity," Brownback said. "Wind energy can't be moved in rail cars or through a pipeline; it can only be delivered via high voltage wires and large scale transmission projects."
Brownback compared the role the Kansas highway system plays in transporting wheat to the market and the role the electrical grid plays in transporting Kansas wind to consumers in our state and beyond. He also discussed the importance of taking a balanced approach to energy policy.
"I want Kansas to be known as the 'Renewable State.' To get there, we have to balance the three Es: Energy, Economy and the Environment. My first priority as governor is to grow the Kansas economy, and getting wind power to market is a key component accomplishing that," Brownback said.
Brownback also encouraged attendees to help him get the word out to the nation about how affordable wind energy from Kansas has become.
"Now is the time to buy Kansas wind," Brownback said. "A combination of events has occurred that have driven the cost of wind energy to historic lows. With federal production tax credits possibly expiring next year, wind developers are motivated to sell. Kansas wind is very competitive with the tradition sources of energy and buyers can get guaranteed rates for the next 20 years."
The Heartland Transmission Conference is hosted by the Energy Future Coalition and the Climate and Energy Project. It brings leading regional and national experts on renewable energy and transmission together to discuss key issues related to the planning, cost allocation, and siting of transmission lines, as well as the role of local, state and federal governments. Participants include environmental interest groups, landowners, electric utility companies, and researchers.