Manhattan hosts 2022 Kansas Renewable Energy Conference

Conference discusses innovations in wind, solar and hydrogen power
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - 18 exhibitors, 23 speakers and a large crowd were gathered Monday in Manhattan for the 2022 Kansas Renewable Energy Conference.

“We’re creating new ways to create energy like, every year new ways have started,” said Brianna Wagoner, president of the Wildcat Wind Power Club at Kansas State University. Last year the club won first place for their wind turbine project at the Collegiate Wind Competition hosted by the United States Department of Energy.

“Wind energy in Kansas is a huge deal,” said Wagoner. “It’s part of the reason why our club is so big, we have about 30 members that are coming consistently this year and last year. It’s just something we really want to spread awareness about and that it’s here and it’s here to stay and it’s growing. It’s a great way to power things in a renewable way.”

This year’s conference focused on two things: innovation and economic impact. Randi Tveitaraas Jack is the International Development Manager for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

“We’ll be looking at the economic impact of some of that wind energy investment that’s taken place over a longer period of time,” said Tveitaraas. “We’re looking at sighting guidelines for solar since that’s newer to the state, commercial solar. I mentioned the hydrogen hub. There is an interest in what kinds of opportunity there might be for Kansas as that industry grows.”

The perception towards renewable energy has changed over the years and companies are looking for renewable energy innovation and generation making Kansas an attractive state to invest in.

“The other thing we’ve found is that when we’re trying to recruit businesses to Kansas and work with our existing businesses,” said Tveitaraas, “access to renewable energy is becoming more and more important as companies make decisions on where they’ll be making their future investments.”

This may come as a surprise, but last year the American Clean Power Association ranked Kansas as having the second highest amount of energy generated within the state from renewable energy sources at 44% renewable.

Like most growing industries, there are still a few kinks to work out and therefore part of the conference will focus on the needed infrastructure and increasing efficiency of renewable energy sources. Registration for the conference has closed and the two day event comes to a close Tuesday.