Kansas Geological Survey
Winter 2003
Vol. 9.1

Energy Council Issues Report


“The council’s initial reports will serve as a basis for moving Kansas toward energy self-sufficiency.”






Energy Council–page 1

From the Director–page 2

Upcoming Events–page 2

New Publications–page 3

DASC–page 3

A Place To Visit–page 4




As Kansas changes from a net energy producer to a net energy consumer, energy is more important to the state than ever.

That’s one of the reasons that former Governor Bill Graves established the State Energy Resources Coordination Council. The 13-member council, appointed in September 2002, is headed by Lee Allison, director of the Kansas Geological Survey.

The council is to compile information about the availability, production, and use of energy in Kansas; develop an initial comprehensive state energy plan; and advise the Governor and Legislature about energy trends in production and consumption and any tax or revenue implications.

The council came up with an initial set of recommendations during its first three meetings, recommendations that were delivered to the Governor and Legislature in mid-January. According to Allison, the council focused on actions that have a realistic chance of implementation, given the state’s financial situation. The recommendations include continued auditing of the energy performance of state buildings and updating energy efficiency standards for construction in Kansas.

The council also recommended establishing a task force to look at the state’s electrical transmission network, especially in light of the recent interest in wind energy; creating a working group to identify the energy research needs in Kansas; and establishing an annual energy conference to bring together researchers, decision-makers, industry representatives, and the public to discuss energy issues.

The council examined trends in Kansas energy production and use, developing forecasts of production and consumption. Perhaps most importantly, the council adopted the Kansas Energy Information Network as its official web site (http://www.kansasenergy.org/sercc.htm), a one-stop shop for information about state energy issues. The council’s initial report to the Governor and Legislature is available at the website, along with an interactive map that allows users to pull together energy-related data.

“In just a few months, we have developed and reported on a great deal of energy information,” said Allison. “The council’s initial reports will serve as a basis for moving Kansas toward energy self-sufficiency.”

That information is especially timely. For decades, Kansas was among the top oil and gas producing states in the nation. While production has declined from many of the state’s oil and gas fields, especially from the huge Hugoton natural gas area in southwestern Kansas, the state’s power plants have imported increasing amounts of coal, mainly from western states such as Wyoming, to generate electricity. Such developments mean less tax and business revenue, along with fewer jobs in the oil patch.

But the situation isn’t all bleak. Wind energy is of growing interest in the state, with the construction of a wind farm in Gray County and the possible location of several others in the Flint Hills (creating a new set of environmental issues related to wind farms) and other parts of Kansas. Large blocks of land have been leased and drilled in eastern Kansas in the exploration for coalbed methane, natural gas that can be removed from coal. Even the state’s older oil fields hold the promise of production, depending on prices and new technologies, such as the use of carbon dioxide to strip oil that was left behind by conventional methods.

The council will continue its efforts over the coming year, refining its energy data and developing a statewide energy plan. “We are laying the groundwork for a long-term comprehensive addressing of the energy situation,” said Allison.

Jeffrey Energy Center, Pottawatomie County, Kansas, with wind turbines in foreground.

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Online March 10, 2003

Comments to: lbrosius@kgs.ku.edu

Kansas Geological Survey