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Kansas   Kansas Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: March 15, 2018

Overview

Kansas stretches more than 400 miles from east to west and has considerable crude oil, natural gas, and renewable energy resources. The state's broad plains rise gradually from about 600 feet above sea level at the Missouri River on the east to more than 3,000 feet higher on the western High Plains.1 Crude oil and natural gas reserves are found in several basins across the state.2 Strong winds blow across the open prairie, creating significant wind energy resources.3 Major river systems, including the Arkansas, Kansas, Republican, and Smoky Hill Rivers, flow from the High Plains eastward across Kansas, offering hydropower potential.4,5

With its midcontinent location, Kansas has hot summers, often-frigid winters, and occasional severe weather, including tornados.6 Kansas averages more than 200 days of full or partial sunshine each year,7 and the western half of the state has significant solar energy resources8,9 that along with fertile prairie soils make it an important agricultural state.10,11 Kansas ranks third in the nation in the amount of land devoted to farming.12 The state's grain sorghum and corn crops are major feedstocks for ethanol production,13 and agricultural wastes provide substantial biomass resources.14

Total end-use energy consumption in Kansas is highest in the industrial sector,15 which includes manufacturing-particularly aviation and aerospace manufacturing-as well as agriculture and livestock processing and the energy-intensive petroleum industry.16 The industrial sector uses roughly one-third of the energy consumed in Kansas. Transportation, the second-largest energy-consuming sector, uses about one-fourth, and the residential sector and commercial sector each use around one-fifth.17

Petroleum

Kansas is a top 10 oil-producing state and accounts for about 1% of total U.S. crude oil production.

Kansas holds about 1% of the U.S. economically-recoverable proved crude oil reserves,18,19 and it is one of the top 10 crude oil-producing states, accounting for just over 1% of the nation's total oil output.20 However, lower crude oil prices have contributed to a decline in the state's oil production in recent years.21,22 Oil fields span Kansas in a broad arc that includes all but a few counties in the north central portion of the state.23 The 1892 crude oil discovery near Neodesha, Kansas is considered the first significant oil find west of the Mississippi River and was the first to indicate the vast oil potential of the Mid-Continent region.24

Kansas is also an oil-refining state. A network of pipelines delivers crude oil to the state's three refineries, which have a combined capacity of about 361,000 barrels of crude oil per day.25 The refineries produce a variety of petroleum products, including diesel fuel and motor gasoline.26 The transportation sector is the largest consumer of petroleum in Kansas, using more than 7 out of 10 barrels, and the industrial sector accounts for most of the state's remaining petroleum consumption.27 Kansas is among the 10 largest corn-producing states,28 and, in wet years, state consumption of propane rises because farmers use it to dry the harvested crop.29,30 Kansas produces a substantial amount of ethanol from corn at about a dozen biorefineries,31,32 but the state consumes only about one-fourth of the ethanol produced.33 Motor gasoline blended with ethanol to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone is required only in the Kansas City metropolitan area.34

Natural gas

The Hugoton Gas Field, one of the nation’s largest natural gas fields, covers much of southwestern Kansas.

At the beginning of 2017, total Kansas natural gas reserves were estimated at about 1% of U.S. proved reserves,35 and the state contributed almost 1% to U.S. total natural gas production.36 Natural gas was first produced in Kansas in 1882.37 The 12,000-square-mile Hugoton Gas Area, one of the largest natural gas fields in United States, covers much of southwestern Kansas.38,39 Natural gas was of little interest until 1929, when the first pipeline to deliver natural gas to nearby markets was built.40 The state's natural gas marketed production has declined every year, except for one, since 1995,41 and its share of U.S. marketed production has also decreased as gas production from shale resources rose in other states.42 Coalbed methane produced from coal seams in the eastern part of Kansas43 has also declined every year since 2009.44

About a dozen interstate natural gas pipelines cross Kansas.45 Natural gas enters the state via pipelines from Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado, and pipelines ship natural gas out of state, primarily to Missouri and Nebraska.46 Kansas consumes more natural gas than it produces.47,48 The Mid-Continent Center, a 204-mile pipeline system in south-central Kansas, is a key natural gas interconnect, merging production from several states in the region and piping it east toward major natural gas-consuming markets.49 Kansas also has 17 natural gas storage fields,50 which account for 3% of U.S. storage capacity.51

The industrial sector in Kansas consumes about half of the natural gas used in the state, more than any other sector.52 Two-thirds of Kansas households use natural gas as their primary energy source for home heating, and the residential sector accounts for about one-fourth of the state's natural gas consumption.53,54

Coal

The coal-fired Jeffrey Energy Center Generating Station is the largest power plant in Kansas.

Kansas holds less than 1% of U.S. economically-recoverable coal reserves,55 and the state's only producing mine yields small amounts of bituminous coal.56 Kansas coal mining began in the 1850s with shallow mines in the eastern part of the state. Significant amounts of coal were produced from both surface and underground mines in Kansas in the late 19th century, primarily to power railroad locomotives.57 Currently, small amounts of Kansas-produced coal are shipped to electric power plants in the state and in Georgia. Kansas receives much more coal from Wyoming, most of which is used in the electric power sector, including at the Jeffrey Energy Center Generating Station,58,59,60 the state's largest electricity power plant.61 Coal is the largest single fuel source for electricity generation in Kansas,62 and nearly all of the coal used in the state's coal-fired generating stations is low-sulfur subbituminous coal shipped by rail from Wyoming. Minor amounts of coal also come from Missouri and Oklahoma.63

Electricity

In 2017, wind energy provided more than one-third of net electricity generation in Kansas.

Coal-fired power plants supply just over one-third of the net electricity generated in Kansas.64 Coal's share of the state's net generation has been gradually declining as wind energy's share has increased.65 During 2017, wind was the second largest source of net generation, producing more than one-third of the electricity generated in Kansas.66 The state's single nuclear power station was the third largest generator, supplying one-fifth of net electricity generation.67 Although the state has abundant natural gas reserves, natural gas-fired power plants typically contribute about 5% of the state's net electricity generation.68 About one-fourth of Kansas households rely on electricity as their primary energy source for home heating.69 The state's electricity prices are slightly above the national average.70

Renewable energy

Kansas, with its wide plains, is among the leading states in both wind energy generation and wind energy potential. Almost all of Kansas' renewable net electricity generation comes from wind,71 and in 2017 the state ranked among the top five states in wind energy generation.72 Kansas is also among the five states with the highest wind energy potential.73,74

In addition, Kansas has solar and hydroelectric power resources. Kansas is among the 10 sunniest states in the country, with about the same solar power potential as Florida,75,76 and some solar photovoltaic capacity is being built.77,78 Kansas is crossed by several major rivers that give it substantial hydropower resources, but most dams were built for flood control or to hold the drinking water supply.79 The state has only one hydroelectric generating facility, located on the Kaw River.80,81

Kansas is one of the top 10 ethanol-producing states in the nation.82 Corn and grain sorghum are the primary feedstocks for the ethanol produced in Kansas. There are 11 ethanol plants in the state with a combined capacity of more than 500 million gallons.83 The state's only advanced biofuels plant, which began operating in 2014 and used agricultural waste such as corn stalks and cobs, wheat straw, milo stubble, and switchgrass to produce cellulosic ethanol, was still in its long-term idle status at the beginning of 2018.84,85

In 2015, the Kansas legislature converted the state's mandatory renewable portfolio standard (RPS), enacted in May 2009, into a voluntary goal for the state's investor-owned and cooperative electric utilities. The RPS originally required electricity providers to obtain 10% of their peak demand capacity from eligible renewable resources from 2011 through 2015, 15% from 2016 through 2019, and 20% each year from 2020. The Kansas RPS is based on generating capacity rather than retail electric sales, which most other states with a RPS use. Technologies that meet the goal include wind; solar thermal and photovoltaic applications; generation fueled by crops grown for ethanol production and some agricultural wastes; and hydroelectric facilities of less than 10 megawatts.86 Additional legislation has established net metering for customers of investor-owned utilities. In 2014, Kansas legislators reduced the sizes of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) facilities that are eligible for net metering and limited net-metered connections to 1% of a utility's peak retail electricity demand during the previous year. Grid-connected distributed facilities may be counted by electricity providers to meet the providers' RPS goal.87

Endnotes

1 NETSTATE, Kansas, The Geography of Kansas, updated February 25, 2016.
2 Kansas Geological Survey, KGS Special Map 6, Oil and Gas Fields of Kansas (2009).
3 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Wind Energy in Kansas, accessed February 13, 2018.
4 Hart, Megan, "Report Shows High Hydropower Potential, Some Kansans Skeptical," The Topeka Capital-Journal (May 17, 2014).
5 Maps of the World, Kansas River Map, accessed February 13, 2018.
6 Knapp, Mary, The Climate of Kansas, The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, State Climate Series, accessed February 13, 2018.
7 Current Results, Days of Sunshine Per Year in Kansas, accessed February 13, 2018.
8 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Photovoltaic Solar Resource of the United States (September 19, 2012).
9 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Concentrating Solar Resource of the United States (September 19, 2012).
10 National Park Service, Tallgrass Prairie, A Complex Prairies Ecosystem, accessed February 13, 2018.
11 Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Agriculture, accessed February 13, 2018.
12 U.S. EIA, Kansas, State Profile and Energy Estimates, Profile Data, Energy Indicators, Land in Farms, accessed February 13, 2018.
13 Ethanol Producers Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, updated January 24, 2018.
14 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Biopower Atlas, Crop Residues, accessed February 13, 2018.
15 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
16 Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Top Employers, accessed February 13, 2018.
17 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
18 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, Kansas, 2011-16.
19 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, U.S. Total, 2011-16.
20 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual-Thousand Barrels, 2011-16.
21 Cross, Edward P., State of the Oil and Gas Industry, Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association (January 2018).
22 U.S. EIA, Kansas Field Production of Crude Oil, Annual, 1981-16.
23 Kansas Geological Survey, KGS Special Map 6, Oil and Gas Fields of Kansas (2009).
24 American Oil & Gas Historical Society, Oil Discovery in Neodesha, Kansas, accessed February 14, 2018.
25 U.S. EIA, Refinery Capacity Report 2017 (June 2017), Table 3, Capacity of Operable Petroleum Refineries by State as of January 1, 2017, p. 11-13.
26 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Kansas, Annual (as of January 1), 2012-17.
27 U.S. EIA, State Profile and Energy Estimates, Table F15: Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2015.
28 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Crop Production 2017 Summary (January 2018), Corn Area Planted for All Purposes and Harvested for Grain, Yield, and Production - States and United States: 2015-2017, p. 11.
29 U.S. EIA, "Propane Use for Crop Drying Depends on Weather and Corn Markets as well as Crop Size," Today in Energy (October 2, 2014).
30 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates, 1960 Through 2015, (June 2017), Kansas, Table C2, p. 4, and Table CT2, p. 194.
31 Nebraska Energy Office, Fuel Ethanol Facilities, Capacity by State and by Plant (December 2017).
32 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table P1, Energy Production Estimates in Physical Units, 2015.
33 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates, 1960 Through 2015, (June 2017), Kansas, Table CT1, p. 193.
34 Gardner, K.S., "U.S. Gasoline Requirements," ExxonMobil (June 2015).
35 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Reserves Summary as of Dec. 31, Wet NG, Annual, 2011-16.
36 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Gross Withdrawals, Annual-Cubic Feet, 2011-16.
37 Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association, 2016 Facts & Figures, Kansas Oil & Gas Industry Statistics.
38 Kansas Geological Survey, The Hugoton Project, Background, accessed February 15, 2018.
39 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 2.
40 Kansas Geological Survey, Public Information Circular 5, History (December 1996).
41 U.S. EIA, Kansas Natural Gas Marketed Production (Million Cubic Feet), 1967-2016.
42 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Gross Withdrawals, Marketed Production, Annual-Cubic Feet, 2011-16.
43 Carr, Timothy, Coalbed Methane in Kansas, Kansas Geological Survey (March 4, 2004), p 8.
44 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Kansas, Annual-Million Cubic Feet, 2011-16.
45 Pipeline 101, Natural Gas Pipelines Map, Region 6 Great Plains and Rockies, accessed February 15, 2018.
46 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Kansas, Annual, 2011-16.
47 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2011-16.
48 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Annual Supply and Disposition by State, Dry Production, Annual, 2011-16.
49 ONEOK Partners, Mid Continent Market Center, accessed February 15, 2018.
50 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Number of Existing Fields, Annual, 2011-16.
51 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Storage Capacity, Annual, 2011-16.
52 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2011-16.
53 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Kansas, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
54 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2011-16.
55 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016 (November 15, 2017), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method.
56 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016 (November 15, 2017), Table 6, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Coal Rank, 2015.
57 Kansas Geological Survey, GeoKansas, Coal Mining in Kansas, updated May 4, 2005.
58 Westar Energy, Company Profile, 2016 Annual Report on Form 10K, p. 9.
59 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2016 (November 21, 2017), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by origin State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Kansas, Table OS-8, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Origin State, 2016, p. 11.
60 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2016 (November 21, 2017), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Kansas, Table DS-15, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2016, p. 17.
61 U.S. EIA, State Electricity Profiles, Kansas Electricity Profile 2016, Table 2, Ten Largest Plants by Generation Capacity, 2016.
62 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Table 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
63 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2016 (November 21, 2017), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Kansas, Table DS-15, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2016, p. 17.
64 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.4.B.
65 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, Net generation from all sectors (thousand megawatthours), Kansas, Annual 2001-2017. missing "s"
66 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
67 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.9.B.
68 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.7.B.
69 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Kansas, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
70 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Table 5.6.B.
71 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.14.B.
72 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Table 1.14.B.
73 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Kansas Energy in Kansas, accessed February 21, 2018.
74 American Wind Energy Association, Kansas Wind Energy, accessed February 21, 2018.
75 Nebraska Energy Office, Comparison of Solar Power Potential by State (2006).
76 U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Solar Maps, U.S. State Solar Resources Maps, Direct Normal Irradiance, Kansas, updated April 4, 2017.
77 Solar Energy Industries Association, Solar State by State, Kansas Solar, accessed February 21, 2018.
78 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Table 1.17.B.
79 Hart, Megan, "Report Shows High Hydropower Potential, Some Kansans Skeptical," The Topeka Capital-Journal (May 17, 2014).
80 Bowersock Hydropower, About Bowersock, accessed February 21, 2018.
81 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B.
82 Nebraska Government Website, Ethanol Facilities' Capacity by State, updated January 11, 2018.
83 Ethanol Producers Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, updated January 24, 2018.
84 "Hugoton Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Sold Out of Bankruptcy," High Plains Journal/Midwest AG Journal (December 22, 2016).
85 Synata Hugoton LLC, Ethanol Producer Magazine, accessed on February 21, 2018.
86 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Renewable Energy Standard, Kansas, Overview, updated June 8, 2015.
87 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Net Metering, Kansas, Program Overview, updated August 12, 2015.