Comparative analysis of Kansas commercial wind energy projects and Wizelius’ European wind project development model
Granville, Melissa Ann
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Kansas ranks 2nd in wind-producing potential in the United States, yet in 2009 wind energy contributed only 5.2% of the State’s electricity supply. In August 2010, Kansas had 9 operational commercial wind energy projects with a total installed capacity of 1,026 megawatts (MW). With National goals to generate at least 20% of electricity from wind by 2030 and Kansas’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements that utilities acquire 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, Kansas wind energy project development and installed capacity must increase. If Kansas is to meet both National and State goals, between 6,000–10,000 MW of installed capacity will be required by 2030. If approved, proposed wind energy projects would generate over 6,200 MW of wind energy for the State in the next few years. This study analyzes 9 operational and 1 unsuccessful Kansas projects. Insights from these analyses are compared with a European model of wind project development. Researchers collected public documents relevant to the 10 projects. Documents were thematically analyzed using inductive, data-driven and deductive, prior-research driven approaches. In addition to the inductive process, prior research identified 4 critical components of wind project development: project timeline, key contributors, support and opposition, and project trajectory. Data were compared across projects to develop a trajectory for existing Kansas wind projects. This trajectory was contrasted with Wizelius’ European model to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for Kansas wind energy development. This comparative analysis resulted in proposed Kansas “best practices” guidelines for wind project development.
The project completed at the Wichita State University Elliot School of Communication. Presented at the 8th Annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit, Topeka, KS, 2011