Energy & Environment

Support for KMUW's energy and environment coverage comes from ITC Great Plains and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Westar Seeks Renewable Energy Bids

Aug 23, 2013

Westar Energy Inc. is trying to expand its renewable energy portfolio.

The state's largest electric utility says it's accepting proposals from developers to add at least 80 megawatts of wind energy production, through September 13. Westar wants to enter into long-term contracts to help it meet state renewable energy requirements for 2016. The standard requires utilities to get 15 percent of their peak power through renewable sources.

Westar has almost 700 megawatts of renewable energy resources in Kansas, in addition to its coal and natural gas power plants.

A Kansas consumer advocate agency is saying that Westar Energy, Inc. can make necessary environmental improvements at its power plants with a smaller rate increase than it requested.

An attorney for the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board filed testimony with the Kansas Corporation Commission yesterday, saying Westar could reduce its rate increase request by $1 million and still accomplish its goals.

CURB also argues against Westar's plan to shift the burden of the increase away from large businesses to residential customers.

Clean Line Energy

The Kansas Corporation Commission is hosting a series of hearings regarding a massive power line that will cross Kansas and deliver electricity to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

The Grain Belt Express line will cross Russell and Osborne counties and send 600,000 volts of electricity from wind farms. The Kansas Corporation Commission already has found the project to be in the public interest. The hearings will focus on its location.

Report: Kansas Among Fastest Growing Wind Markets

Aug 7, 2013

A new government report shows Kansas is among the largest and fastest-growing wind energy markets in the country.

The Energy Department says Kansas ranks third among all U.S. states in the percentage of in-state electricity generation from wind power.

The state installed more than 1,400 megawatts of new wind power capacity in 2012; Kansas' total capacity is now 2,713 megawatts.

The department says that Kansas now has enough capacity to generate more than 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy.

Farm Bill May Ease Rules For Coal Plant

Jul 17, 2013

The U.S. House-approved farm bill contains a provision that environmentalists say would ease rules for building a coal-burning power plant in southwest Kansas.

Kansas Company Ordered To Pay Penalty For Pollution

Jun 20, 2013

Ash Grove Cement Company has agreed to pay a penalty and invest $30 million in new pollution control technology at its nine manufacturing plants, one of which is in Chanute, Kan. The settlement stems from charges that Ash Grove violated the Clean Air Act.

The Hays Post

Fort Hays State University will begin generating most of its electricity from wind turbines by the end of the summer.

After more than six years of planning and a $9 million investment, work crews are installing two 400-foot wind turbines at the university in Hays. Crews started installing the first turbine last week.

Fort Hays President Edward Hammond says the turbines should be operational by Aug. 1.

Kansas Gets C- For Infrastructure

May 22, 2013

Civil engineers have given Kansas' infrastructure an overall C-minus grade.

The regional chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers released their report card Wednesday.

It's an evaluation of the state's aviation, bridges, roads, dams, drinking water, energy, levees, railroads and schools.

The engineers found the most faults with the state's bridges and dams, rating them a D-minus. They say Kansas has nearly 3,000 structurally deficient bridges.

They awarded the highest grades for the state's roads and schools; both got a C-plus.

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