With a six foot wind turbine just a few feet away, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recognized the impact the wind energy industry has on the Kansas economy during a news conference today at the statehouse.
"Just like the many other best-in-market products Kansas exports - such as wheat, cattle, oil and gas and airplanes - Kansas has world-class wind energy," Governor Brownback said. "Wind energy development has created thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent operation and maintenance jobs in Kansas. And we are nearing 2,000 jobs in wind component manufacturing."
Brownback said a new report from the American Wind Energy Association shows Kansas leads the nation in the number of wind turbines under construction. Currently, the wind turbine installations in the state total 1,072.4 MW of wind and 10 operating wind projects. By the end of 2012, companies will install more than 660 new turbines that will double current installations and create more than 1,300 MW of wind. The Governor said the construction of $3 Billion in new investments would not be possible without the strong support of the Kansas utilities.
"The wind industry in Kansas has seen remarkable growth in the past four years," Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. "With that growth comes the need for more workers with the right skills. The industry offers high quality, well-paying jobs, and Kansas will continue to work with our partners to help recruit and train a quality workforce for the industry."
CEO of BP Wind Energy John Graham, CEO of TradeWind Energy Matt Gilhousen, Siemens' Hutchinson Plant Manager Claus Ungstrup, and Cloud County Community College VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Kim Krull joined the Governor and Secretary to share their companies and school's roles in growing the state's wind energy industry.
Governor Brownback also said Kansas is becoming an industry leader in the development of this new energy economy because of the state's regulatory environment that favors local control and public- private partnership; highly trained and skilled workforce; and technical education programs.