The population of the Sunflower State, Kansas is approximately 2.94 million people. Kansas is the 35th most populated state in the United States.
In 2022, Kansas’ economy was ranked 32nd in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, aerospace, bioscience, manufacturing, and meat packing industries.
In 2009, Kansas enacted a Renewable Energy Standard, requiring investor owned electric utilities to obtain 10% of their peak power demand capacity from renewable resources by 2011, 15% by 2016, and 20% by 2020.
In 2015, Kansas changed the mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard to a Renewable Energy Goal for all investor-owned and cooperative electric utilities.
Power Generation Capabilities
In January 2023, utilities used renewable energy (45.2 %), coal (33.3%), nuclear (17.1%), and natural gas (4.4%) to generate electricity in Kansas. Wind is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Kansas.
In January 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Kansas was 12.97¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.47¢ per kWh.
Recent renewable energy developments in Kansas include:
- 320 MW Solar + 128 MW Energy Storage – Florida utility, NextEra is continuing work on the West Gardner solar project at a site approximately 10 miles southwest of Kansas City, Kansas. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
- 199 MW Wind Project – In December 2020, Italian utility, Enel commissioned the expansion of the Cimarron Bend wind project at a site approximately 350 miles southwest of Kansas City.
- 198 MW Wind Project – In June 2020, Georgia utility, Southern Power Company commissioned the Reading wind project at a site approximately 100 miles southwest of Kansas City.
- 190 MW Wind Project – In December 2021, multinational engineering company, IEA commissioned the Jayhawk wind project at a site approximately 100 miles south of Kansas City.
- 1 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2021, North Carolina energy storage company, FlexGen commissioned the Solomon Energy Storage Center in Minneapolis, Kansas.
Coal mining began in southeastern region of the state in the 1850s. Initially, coal was used in Kansas to fuel steam engines, furnaces, and forges.
Kansas’s last coal mine ceased operation in 2016. The coal used to fuel Kansas’ power plant is now brought by rail from Wyoming.
In 2010, 68.6 % of Kansas’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. In January 2023, 33.3% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?
- Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America.
- Economics – The cost to generate power from coal without subsidies is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like wind and solar.
- Climate Change – Coal generates 40 % to 45 % more greenhouse gases than natural gas.
Escalating mining and railroad transport costs make the cost of electricity from coal significantly more expensive than wind or solar. Economics and climate change concerns had caused Kansas’ utilities to turn from coal to clean, green renewable energy. In January 2023, 62.3% of the Sunflower State’s electricity was generated from zero-carbon sources (renewable and nuclear energy).
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.
 Kansas Population 2023, World Population Review
 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
 Biggest Industries in Kansas – World Atlas
 National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021
 U.S. Energy Information Agency – Kansas State Profile and Energy Estimates, www.eia.gov
 Kansas Geological Survey
 EIA, Electric Power Sector Consumption Estimates, Kansas 1960-2018
 Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019