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Leaders Discuss Local Impact of Renewable Energy in Kansas
Kansas Ag Connection - 12/04/2020

Thursday, Boost Kansas hosted a panel discussion focusing on the benefits provided to local communities by the development and operation of a renewable energy project. The virtual event, "Boosting the Local Economy through Renewable Energy," featured local leaders and industry experts who shared how the growth of Kansas' wind and solar energy sectors are boosting local economies, creating good-paying jobs across the state, and creating economic opportunity in hard-hit communities, especially as the nation looks to rebuild during post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

With 41 wind projects already online across the state and more in the works, renewable energy plays an integral role in supporting jobs and stimulating economic activity in local communities across the state.

Steve Sloan, CEO of Midwest Minerals, kicked off the conversation, "COVID-19 has emphasized the importance of growing the availability of good, reliable jobs. The wind industry is leading here in Kansas and has created substantial job opportunities for those employed by Midwest Minerals. We are looking forward to the future as the demand for a renewable energy workforce will only continue to grow."

"Companies across the U.S are looking for space to power their operations. Kansas has the potential to be at the top of the list, creating massive investment opportunities for our state," said Riley Scott, Executive Director of Boost Kansas.

More than $11.4 billion in capital financing has been invested in the state, providing unparalleled opportunities for workforce expansion and economic growth as a result of wind energy.

Jeff Martin, Vice President of Customer and Community Operations with Evergy added, "Evergy's installment of Renewables Direct to provide competitive pricing for local renewable energy is a great tool to attract new businesses to our area and to meet the needs of current customers using our area's abundant wind energy. It helps customers realize their sustainability goals while providing long-term price stability."

Renewable energy -- and the manufacturing, infrastructure, and technology that goes with it -- is and will continue to be an essential driver of American industry, Kansas' workforce, and the economic recovery.

And it's been a driver for companies in Kansas.

"Renewable energy has taken off over the past few years and it has proven to be a successful partnership for Watco as we built a facility to store wind turbines during development," said Casey Harbour, Kansas Sales Manager, Watco. "This has not only been a successful partnership for our company, but also for the state of Kansas."

In Kansas, wind now supports 6,000 jobs and provides $29 million in revenue for state and local governments, leading to building new facilities, improving roads and bridges, and upgrading emergency services.

"Clean energy is the foundation for our energy future, and states embracing it are winning when major corporations move in or expand their operations," said Chris Knapp, Apex Clean Energy. "Additionally, across the state Kansas landowners benefit from the $36 million in lease payments made by the industry provided for hosting projects on their land."

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