Kansas’ second in command has been in office for less than a month, but he’s not wasting any time making the most of what the state has to offer.
Those cold, windy, winter days in Kansas may chill you to the bone, but that icy breeze could be a valuable commodity for the state, if the state had the tools to harness its power. It’s a goal Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson has his sights set on.
“We should be the leader in wind because we’re a very windy state,” Parkinson said Tuesday.
The challenge is not exactly in harnessing the power of the wind, it’s in transmitting that power across the Kansas plains.
“The biggest obstacle we have right now is that we don’t have transmission lines in the middle part of the state to bring the wind power from the southwest to the east,” Parkinson explained.
Building those transmission lines is an expensive and time consuming project, but it’s the next step in meeting the goals the governor laid out in her 2007 state of the state address. Sebelius hopes the state can produce 10 percent of it’s electricity from wind power by the year 2010, and 20 percent by the year 2020.
Parkinson says those goals are do-able, and he’s pleased with the feedback he’s received so far.
“People really are interested and everywhere I go someone says hey I’d like to work on the energy issue; I agree with you and the governor that we need to be independent of foreign oil,” Parkinson added.
The support is there, but so is the opposition, and the “not in my backyard” mentality.
“As soon as we announce success on a wind farm, we start getting letters from people that live in the area saying I don’t want a wind farm in my area,” he said.
Parkinson says it may not be a breeze, but it’s a worthwhile task he’s prepared to see through.
“It’s something we need to do, like every issue, it’s not easy, but it is something I think we can accomplish,” Parkinson said.
The American Wind Energy Association ranks Kansas third in the nation when it comes to the potential for wind energy. It comes in just behind North Dakota and Texas.
Story by Gena Terlizzi
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding