Total energy consumption continues to grow in Kansas. However,
Kansas is more energy efficient than 20 years ago. In 1998, 70%
less energy was required per dollar of gross state product than
it was in 1977. Growth in total energy consumption slowed after
1980, while the State economy has continued its rapid growth.
However, Kansas and the U.S. are rapidly changing how energy
is delivered. We are moving to increased dependence on electricity.
Over the last 40 years, electricity's share of Kansas energy
consumption has doubled from 15% to nearly 33%. With electric
industry restructuring and increased uncertainty in environmental
demands, todays additions to baseload capacity are overwhelmingly
combined-cycle or combustion turbine technology fueled by natural
gas. The result is an extremely rapid and accelerating growth
in demand for natural gas for electric generation
Fossil fuels - oil, natural gas, and coal - make up 91% of
the energy consumed by Kansans. Fossil fuels will continue to
dominate energy markets in Kansas, the nation, and the world
for at least the next 20 - 40 years27. Kansas oil
and gas fields are entering a third phase of production that
will require increased technology and capital investment. Alternative
energy sources will increase and if economically viable should
be encouraged in the coming years. An economic and measured approach
that integrates new energy sources (e.g., wind and ethanol production
from agricultural production) into the Kansas energy system can
have a positive impact. Increased synergy and efficiencies are
possible among all the various aspects of the Kansas energy system.
However, Kansas and U. S energy supply will continue to be dominated
by fossil fuels. Alternative energy does not appear to have the
potential for a major short-term impact on energy supply.
Until the energy price collapse in mid-1980s, Kansas was a
net exporter of energy (Figure 26). More energy was produced
in the Kansas than was consumed, thereby allowing energy to be
exported outside of the State. Since then, the steadily declining
oil and gas production that followed steadily declining wellhead
prices, coupled with increasing consumption, has pushed Kansas
into a neutral position - our consumption of energy is roughly
matched by our production.
Worldwide petroleum demand is climbing at about 2.4% annually,
and will continue to increase with the growing prosperity in
Asia and elsewhere. A new and fast growing "consumer class"
is appearing in the emerging economies of the world. China, India,
Pakistan, and Indonesia, with 40% of the world's population,
use less than 1 barrel of oil per capita/year (U.S. consumption
is approximately 24 barrels of crude oil per capita per year).
The rest of the world is entering the mass consumer age where
everyone wants electric power, consumer items, and motorized
transportation. How will the U.S. and Kansas compete on the world
market for the energy supply required to maintain our economy?
The U.S. is the third largest producer of oil and the largest
producer of natural gas in the world. Kansas remains a significant
producer of primary energy. However, we no longer encourage investment
in the technology, people, and capital required to maintain our
Without a significant increase in primary energy supply in
the coming years, Kansas will become a significant net importer
of energy. Kansas will need to sell more products outside of
the State to pay for our growing energy demands. Innovative methods
to increase the production of clean, copious, and low-cost energy
will be required to avoid shrinking the Kansas economy.
Figure 26 - Kansas net energy production, 1960-1998.
Updated January 2001
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