energy

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Wind now cranks up more kilowatts than any other power source in the state.

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

In partnership with 1A Across America, KMUW presented a live and local edition of the national public radio program 1A. The Friday News Roundup: Wichita Edition aired on KMUW 89.1 FM at 12:00 p.m. CT on Friday, March 19.

1A host Jenn White and this panel of local experts discussed the latest news in Wichita:

-Tom Shine, KMUW Director of News and Public Affairs
-Nadya Faulx, KMUW Digital News Editor/Reporter
-Teresa Lovelady, President and CEO of HealthCore Clinic

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Nearly 70 years ago in a newly formed suburb of Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light Co. built what it thought was a vision of the future — an all-electric home full of the latest technology.

“It was advertised as the lazy man’s paradise,” said Johnson County Museum curator Andrew Gustafson.

Gas furnace
Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Last February, the city of Cheney, Kansas – located just west of Wichita – paid about $2 per thousand cubic feet, or unit, of natural gas on the wholesale market.

But last week, during the height of the winter storm, it was paying more than $600 per unit.

“We didn’t have the option to just say, ‘We don’t want gas for our community,’” said Cheney City Administrator Danielle Young.  “We just had to take the price we were given to make sure our residents were staying warm.”

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Rolling electrical blackouts rippled across the Midwest Monday while the region shivered in an arctic blast and suddenly found itself short on electrical power.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

The electrification of cars and small trucks is on the horizon, but the state of Kansas is doing the bare minimum to be prepared.

A new state scorecard from the advocacy group the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks the state 29th, with a score of 15.5 out of 100.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — The state’s largest utility wants to charge customers with solar panels about $25 a month, even if their homes pull almost no electricity off the grid.

If courts and regulators reject that idea, power-provider Evergy’s backup proposal would charge all customers — not just those harvesting power on their roofs — a minimum of $35 a month just for plugging into its system.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — The blow the coronavirus dealt to the Kansas economy left tens of thousands of people in the state struggling to pay their utility bills.

That puts them at risk of losing electricity or natural gas — and raises the prospect that better-off Kansans weathering price hikes to make up the difference.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Electric cars aren't a common sight in rural Kansas — yet.

But the town of Winfield — population 12,000, about 45 minutes southeast of Wichita — knows that will inevitably change.

"We’re going to see the electrification of vehicles across the country," said City Manager Taggart Wall. "So how do we stay on the leading edge of that and learn as the industry grows, rather than try to be retroactive and catch up?"

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Fearing what the coronavirus might do to the power industry, six electric cooperatives in Kansas applied and received up to $20 million total in loans as part of the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

“It looked pretty bleak,” said Doug Jackson, the general manager of Rolling Hills Electric Coop based in Beloit. It received $1.19 million to help sustain 42 full-time employees.

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