An argument that you hear over and over from proponents of the coal plants for Kansas is that you cannot use wind energy for baseload power, therefore you need to develop coal, gas and nuclear energy. They say the wind is not dependable. German scientists would say they are wrong.
If you go to www.youtube.com and in the search box put in quotes “Combined Power Plant” you will be given a choice to watch a seven-minute video from Germany about supplying baseload power from renewable sources. Because of this pilot project, Germany feels that they will start to phase out coal and nuclear plants, and by 2020, will generate 40 percent of their power from renewable sources and by 2050 they will generate 100% of Germany’s power from a combination of wind, biogas, solar and pumped hydro. Watch the video to see how they will do it.
If you compare Germany to Kansas and Oklahoma you will find that Germany is heavily industrialized with a population of 82,000,000 and a land area of 137,000 square miles. Kansas and Oklahoma have a combined population of 6,383,000 with a total land area of 159,000 square miles. Germany, as of this year, produces more electricity from wind than all of the U.S. Germany has to supply more power to more people crowded into a smaller area than Kansas and Oklahoma combined.
From the German example, Kansas could use a combination of wind and natural gas to supply all of our state’s power. On top of that, Kansas could be a top supplier of electricity out-of-state because of our superior wind energy potential. This could be done while phasing out coal and nuclear power in our state.
Take seven minutes, watch the video, and come to your own conclusions.
By JERRY BROWN, Salina, retired Salina School District administrator