Through its SEP-funded activities and programs, the Kansas Corporation Commission’s (KCC) Energy Division continues to promote energy conservation and efficiency and alternative energy throughout the state. The KCC’s recent efforts to promote cost-effective improvements in the residential, small commercial, and public sectors, are helping Kansans achieve substantial energy (and dollar) savings.
Under the KCC’s residential retrofit program, thousands of Kansas homes and small businesses received whole-house energy audits and customized recommendations estimated to generate $2.5 million in annual savings. With the program’s innovative approach to financing—customers can access traditional bank loans or on-bill utility financing—nearly 1.9 million square feet of housing stock and small businesses have been retrofitted, capturing an estimated $536,988 in annual savings.
Kansas has had a longstanding focus on energy efficiency in public buildings. To better control utility costs, address deferred maintenance, and lead by example in energy efficiency upgrades, the State has participated in hundreds of public-sector building improvements. The KCC has provided funding for energy efficiency improvements on several public university campuses, producing annual energy savings of over 11.5 million BTUs. These improvements follow the model of the KCC’s Facility Conservation Improvement Program (FCIP), a fee-funded performance contracting program that has led to more than $259 million in energy-efficiency improvements in public buildings, saving over $19 million annually. Together, these initiatives have helped reduce the burden on Kansas taxpayers, and highlight the value of energy efficiency improvements.
To expand its outreach on energy efficiency, the KCC sponsored the Take Charge Challenge, a friendly competition among 16 cities to save the most energy. This 9-month outreach activity drove participation in the KCC’s residential retrofit program—1,141 whole house energy audits and 152 completed retrofits—and spurred the installation of CFLs and programmable thermostats. In all, annual energy savings were estimated at 110.2 billion BTUs, valued at $2.3 million.
Kansas has tremendous potential for additional growth in renewable fuels, and KCC grants are supporting advanced technologies and equipment for harvesting, handling, and delivery of biomass feedstocks. Thanks to the support of the KCC, an ethanol plant in Kansas will supplement its natural gas requirements using an anaerobic digeseter. The digester uses state-of-the art technology to transform waste from feedlots into the energy to create ethanol. The project is also able to accept municipal wastewater, and is pioneering a unique solution to Kansas communities. These projects highlight the innovative spirit of Kansans and position Kansas as a leader in biofuels.