As part of the rebuilding efforts in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan., city officials will turn to renewable energy--wind, hydro, and solar--to power the city’s homes and public and commercial buildings.
City administrator Steve Hewitt says the shift is mainly to combat the continuing fluctuation of fuel prices and the unsure direction of energy prices. But there is one other obvious driver: “Greensburg is one of the hottest spots for wind,” Hewitt tells EcoHome. “We know that wind is an asset and we want to take advantage of that.”
In fact, according to Lynn Billman, a senior project leader with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the state of Kansas falls in the “excellent” category for wind power possibilities. “Kansas is the third best in the country for wind potential following Texas and North Dakota,” Billman explains.
Greensburg’s planned wind farm will possibly employ up to four 300-foot, 1.5-megawatt wind turbines, which should supply an ample amount of energy for the town. Greensburg’s small-community focus is unique; wind power, which the Department of Energy predicts could produce 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030, is generally harnessed on a much larger scale. Only a handful of communities have taken Greenburg’s approach, but, according to Billman, the results have been positive.
Still, despite Greensburg’s wind potential, Hewitt says the city isn’t putting all of its faith in wind power. City officials also are looking into hydropower and solar power as backup sources of energy. “We will be 100% renewable, 100% of the time,” Hewitt says. “Renewable energy is the future.”
Over the next 90 to 120 days, Hewitt says Greensburg will continue to search for investors for its renewable power initiative, and he estimates a 12- to 18-month time frame for the turbines to arrive.