Energy Generation Goal 1: Scale up utility-scale investment in renewable energy
EG-1.1: Expand wind energy production
Harnessing the momentum of wind energy in Kansas and Missouri is one of the most impactful ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our region. Utility-scale wind farms, which can be seen across Kansas and Missouri, are typically large, multi-turbine developments that can produce a similar amount of energy to conventional power plants. In addition to Kansas’ national leadership in wind, the northern and western parts of Missouri have high wind
speeds and productive wind energy conditions.
The state of Kansas alone has seen roughly $11.4 billion in capital investments boosting jobs, tax revenue and community development while cutting energy costs for customers. Two noted obstacles in wind development include resistance from some local communities and elected officials, and the need to develop or expand transmission lines like the Grain Belt Express. Statewide carbon reduction goals, subsidies, loans, grants and other incentives are also key avenues to encourage and enforce wind adoption.
Rural landowners and farmers receive income from leasing land to wind developments, providing additional sources of revenue and economic stability. Wind pilot projects may also include community benefits, such as building and expanding on schools, community centers, and more. Assessments of ratepayer impacts and a focus on coal plant retirement strategies like securitization would decrease or eliminate potential cost burdens to consumers.
EG-1.2: Expand utility-owned solar farms
Utility-owned solar photovoltaic (PV) farms contain large arrays of hundreds or thousands of panels and have substantial energy-generating capacity. Both Kansas and Missouri have great potential to become leaders in solar power due to high numbers of sunny days, but currently less than 1% of Missouri and Kansas’ electricity comes from solar energy.
While the cost of solar has continued to fall, especially for larger-scale developments, financial incentives are still necessary to encourage sufficient investment in solar projects. Tax incentives, subsidies, loans, grants and other fiscal incentives can encourage utility-scale solar development.
Growth can also be spurred by establishing statewide carbon reduction goals, as these standards translate into investment opportunities for solar developers. In addition, policymakers should guarantee and encourage the connection and access of PV plants to the grid to ensure the viability of large solar projects.
Utilizing financing options and coal plant retirement strategies (like debt buyouts by ratepayers on non-economic coal plants) can ameliorate the cost to utilities, preventing impacts on ratepayers. Scaling renewables also fosters local jobs growth and workforce development opportunities.