|BP workers install a wind turbine blade.|
(Eagle photo by Fernando Salazar)
Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George is more optimistic. George said wind farms are one of the few categories of economic development that benefit rural parts of the state. "Anytime a project can pump a few million extra dollars a year into a small county, it will create an opportunity for good things – a restaurant, a gas station, a farm equipment dealer," George said. “With wind power under construction well north of a $1 billion this year, any time you can get that investment, especially in the rural counties, it helps."
Voorhis writes that the Sunflower State is "the second windiest in the nation, but for a variety of reasons hasn’t taken full advantage of that with the construction of wind farms. At the end of 2011, it ranked 14th nationally in commercial wind power generation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. However, by the end of 2012, the state will more than double the amount of wind energy generated in Kansas to 2,660 megawatts from 21 wind farms across central and western Kansas and could break into the top 10 states." It is something, notes Voorhis, that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has made one of the keystones of his economic platform, a position at odds with many others in his party.