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Kansas   Kansas Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

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(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: April 16, 2020

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 in the east to more than 3,000 feet higher on the state's western High Plains.1 Crude oil and natural gas reserves are found in several basins across the state.2,3 Strong winds blow across the open prairie, creating significant wind energy resources.4 Major river systems, including the Arkansas, Kansas, Republican, and Smoky Hill Rivers, flow from the High Plains eastward across Kansas, offering hydropower potential.5,6

With its Mid-Continent location far from large bodies of water, Kansas has hot summers, frigid winters, and occasional severe weather, including tornados.7 Kansas averages more than 200 days of full or partial sunshine each year, and the western half of the state has significant solar energy resources that, along with fertile prairie soils, help make it a major agricultural state.8,9,10,11 Kansas ranks third in the nation in the amount of land devoted to farming.12,13 The state's grain sorghum and corn crops are major feedstocks for ethanol production, and agricultural wastes provide substantial biomass resources.14,15

Total end-use energy consumption in Kansas is highest in the state's industrial sector, which includes manufacturing—particularly aviation and aerospace manufacturing—as well as agriculture and livestock processing, and the energy-intensive petroleum and natural gas industry.16,17 The industrial sector uses more than one-third of the energy consumed in Kansas. Transportation—the second-largest energy-consuming sector—uses about one-fourth, and the commercial and residential sectors each account for around one-fifth of state energy consumption.18

Petroleum

Kansas is a major oil-producing state in the Mid-Continent region and accounts for about 1% of total U.S. crude oil output.

Kansas holds nearly 1% of U.S. proved crude oil reserves, and it accounts for about 1% of the nation's total oil production.19,20,21 However, in recent years the state's production has fallen and annual oil output in 2019 was at its lowest level in two decades.22 The 1892 crude oil discovery near Neodesha, Kansas, is considered the first significant oil find west of the Mississippi River, and it was the first to indicate the vast oil potential of the Mid-Continent region.23 Today, oil fields span Kansas in a broad arc that includes all but a few counties in the north central portion of the state.24

Kansas is also an oil-refining state. A network of pipelines delivers crude oil to the state's three refineries, which combined can process about 394,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day, or about 2% of the nation's total refining capacity in 2019. The refineries produce a variety of petroleum products, including diesel fuel, motor gasoline, and jet fuel.25 Conway, Kansas is a major hydrogen gas liquid products storage and pricing hub for propane and ethane.26,27,28 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.29

Kansas is among the 10 largest corn-producing states, and, in wet years, state consumption of propane rises because farmers use it to dry the harvested crop.30,31 Kansas uses part of its corn crop as the feedstock to make fuel ethanol at a dozen ethanol production plants, and it is a top 10 ethanol-producing state.32,33,34 The state consumes about one-fourth of the ethanol it produces, and the surplus ethanol is sent to blenders at fuel terminals in other states or exported to other countries.35 Conventional motor gasoline without ethanol is allowed to be sold statewide, except for the Kansas City metropolitan area, where gasoline blended with ethanol is required to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone.36

Natural gas

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

At the beginning of 2019, Kansas' natural gas reserves were estimated to be the lowest in more than four decades, and the state's annual marketed natural gas production accounted for about 0.5% of the U.S. total.37,38 Natural gas was first produced in Kansas in 1882.39 The 12,000-square-mile Hugoton Gas Area, one of the largest natural gas fields in the United States, covers much of southwestern Kansas and parts of Oklahoma and Texas.40,41 Since 1996, Kansas' marketed natural gas production has declined every year except for one, and its share of U.S. total marketed production has also decreased as natural gas production from shale resources in other states rose.42,43,44,45

Kansas consumes more natural gas than it produces.46,47 Natural gas enters the state via pipelines primarily from Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado, and pipelines ship natural gas out of the state mainly to Missouri and Nebraska.48 The Mid-Continent Center 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.49,50 Kansas also has 16 natural gas storage fields, which account for 3% of U.S. storage capacity.51,52

Kansas' industrial sector, which includes agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and natural gas production and processing, consumes about half of the natural gas used in the state.53 The residential sector accounts for almost one-fourth of the state's natural gas consumption, and about 6 out of 10 Kansas households use natural gas as their primary energy source for home heating.54,55 The commercial sector, which includes government buildings, businesses, hospitals, and schools, is the third-largest natural gas consumer, accounting for one-seventh of the state's total. The electric power sector accounts for about one-tenth of the state's natural gas consumption.56,57

Electricity

In 2019, wind energy provided 41% of electricity generation in Kansas, the second-largest share for any state.

In 2019, wind energy surpassed coal for the first time as the largest energy source for generating electricity in Kansas. Wind energy accounted for 41% of the state's net generation, and coal-fired power plants supplied 33% of Kansas' generation, with the amount of coal-fired electricity down by almost half from a decade earlier. The state's single reactor nuclear power plant, Wolf Creek Generating Station, accounted for 18% of electricity net generation. Natural gas-fired power plants contributed 7% of the state's generation. The rest of Kansas' electricity generation came from smaller amounts of petroleum liquids, biomass, solar, and hydroelectric power.58,59 One out of four Kansas households rely on electricity as their primary energy source for heating.60 Kansas' average electricity retail price for all sectors is slightly below the national average.61

Renewable energy

Almost all of Kansas' renewable electricity net generation comes from wind power.62 In 2019, the state ranked among the top five states in total wind energy generation, and it had the second-largest share of electricity generated from wind—following closely behind Iowa.63 Kansas, with its wide plains, is also among the states with the best wind power potential. At the end of 2019, the state had about 6,100 megawatts of installed wind generating capacity from nearly 3,200 wind turbines.64,65 Three wind projects with a combined generating capacity of nearly 700 megawatts are scheduled to come online in the state during 2020.66

Kansas also has biomass, solar, and hydropower resources. Kansas' electricity generation from biomass is relatively small and comes from two generating facilities that use landfill gas and have a total capacity of 9 megawatts.67,68 Kansas is among the 10 sunniest states in the country, with about the same solar power potential as Florida.69 However, Kansas has little utility-scale (1 megawatt or larger) solar generation, although the state's utility-scale solar generation doubled from 2018 to 2019. Solar generation from small-scale, mostly rooftop solar panels, was double the amount of solar power from utility-scale solar farms.70,71 Kansas' electricity generation from biomass is relatively small and comes from two generating facilities that use landfill gas and have a total capacity of 9 megawatts.72 Kansas is crossed by several major rivers that give it substantial hydropower resources, but most dams were built for flood control or to supply drinking water.73 The state has only one hydroelectric generating facility, located on the Kaw River, with 11 turbines that have a combined 7 megawatts of generating capacity.74

Kansas is one of the top 10 ethanol-producing states.

Kansas is one of the top 10 ethanol-producing states in the nation.75,76 There are 12 ethanol plants operating in the state with a combined production capacity of about 539 million gallons a year. Corn and grain sorghum are the primary feedstocks for those ethanol plants.77,78 The state also has one biodiesel plant with a production capacity of 60 million gallons per year.79

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 power demand capacity from eligible renewable resources from 2011 through 2015, 15% from 2016 through 2019, and 20% each year from 2020. Unlike other states, the Kansas RPS is based on generating capacity rather than electricity retail sales. Renewables that meet the goal include wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower.80 Separate legislation established net metering for customers of investor-owned utilities in 2009. Customer-sited, small-scale generating facilities connected to the grid may be counted by utilities to meet the RPS goal. In 2017, Kansas' electric utility regulator approved new fees that utilities could charge to net metering customers.81,82

Coal

The coal-fired Jeffrey Energy Center generating station is the largest power plant in Kansas.

Kansas holds about 0.3% of U.S. estimated recoverable coal reserves, but the state no longer produces coal since its last coal mine ceased operations in 2016.83,84,85 Coal had been mined in Kansas since 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, and were used primarily by railroad locomotives.86 To meet current coal demand, Kansas receives coal from other states and most of it is used in the electric power sector. Nearly all of the coal used in the state's coal-fired power plants is low-sulfur subbituminous coal shipped by rail from Wyoming.87 The coal-fired Jeffrey Energy Center generation station is the state's largest power plant in both capacity (almost 2,200 megawatts) and actual generation (about 9.5 million megawatthours).88 Smaller amounts of coal are also transported by truck and rail from Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma for use at Kansas industrial plants.89

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. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Profile Kansas, Profile Overview, Map, Layers/Legend: Oil and Gas Wells.
4 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Wind Energy in Kansas, Maps & Data, accessed March 15, 2020.
5 Hart, Megan, "Report Shows High Hydropower Potential, Some Kansans Skeptical," The Topeka Capital-Journal (May 17, 2014).
6 Maps of the World, Kansas River Map, accessed March 15, 2020.
7 Knapp, Mary, The Climate of Kansas, The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, State Climate Series, accessed March 15, 2020.
8 Current Results, Days of Sunshine Per Year in Kansas, accessed March 15, 2020.
9 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Solar Resource Data, Tools, and Map, U.S. Annual Solar GHI, Kansas, February 22. 2018.
10 National Park Service, Tallgrass Prairie, A Complex Prairie Ecosystem, updated December 10, 2018.
11 Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Agriculture, updated October 2019.
12 U.S. EIA, Kansas, State Profile and Energy Estimates, Profile Data, Energy Indicators, Land in Farms, accessed March 15, 2020.
13 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Census of Agriculture, Table 8 Farms, Land in Farms, Value of Land and Buildings, and Land Use: 2012 and 2007, p. 310.
14 Ethanol Producer Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, Operational, updated February 24, 2020.
15 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Biomass Resource Data, Tools, and Maps, U.S. Annual Solar GHI, Kansas, February 22, 2018.
16 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2017.
17 Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Data Book 2017, Key Industries, p. 21, Top Employers, p. 26.
18 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2017.
19 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, Kansas, 2013-18.
20 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, U.S. Total, 2013-18.
21 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual-Thousand Barrels, 2013-18.
22 U.S. EIA, Kansas Field Production of Crude Oil, Annual, 1981-2018.
23 American Oil & Gas Historical Society, Oil Discovery in Neodesha, Kansas, accessed March 15, 2020.
24 Kansas Geological Survey, KGS Special Map 6, Oil and Gas Fields of Kansas (2009).
25 U.S. EIA, Refinery Capacity Report 2019 (June 21, 2019), Table 3, Capacity of Operable Petroleum Refineries by State as of January 1, 2019, p. 8, 10.
26 "Welcome to Conway, KS, #2 in Propane storage," Propane.pro (February 11, 2011).
27 Anderson, Marissa, "Growing Apart: The Mount Belvieu/Conway NGL Price Differential," BTU Analytics (July 10, 2018).
28 U.S. Department of Energy, Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States (November 2018), p. 5, 42-43.
29 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table F15: Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2017.
30 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kansas Rank in U.S. Agriculture, accessed March 19, 2020.
31 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).
32 Ethanol Producer Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, Operational, updated February 24, 2020.
33 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table P1, Energy Production Estimates in Physical Units, 2017.
34 U.S. EIA, U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity (August 26, 2019), Detailed nameplate capacity of fuel ethanol plants by Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD District) are available in XLS.
35 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C2, Energy Consumption Estimates for Major Energy Sources in Physical Units, 2017.
36 American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Gasoline Requirements, (January 2018).
37 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Reserves Summary as of Dec. 31, Wet NG, Annual, 2013-18.
38 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Marketed Production, Annual-Million Cubic Feet, 2014-19.
39 Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association, 2018 Facts & Figures, Kansas Oil & Gas Industry Statistics.
40 Kansas Geological Survey, The Hugoton Project, Background, accessed March 16, 2020.
41 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 2.
42 U.S. EIA, Kansas Natural Gas Marketed Production (Million Cubic Feet), 1967-2019.
43 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Gross Withdrawals, Marketed Production, Annual-Cubic Feet, 2012-18.
44 U.S. EIA, Drilling Productivity Report, Production by region (March 16, 2020).
45 U.S. EIA, "U.S. natural gas production grew again in 2019, increasing by 10%," Today in Energy (June 6, 2019).
46 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2014-19.
47 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Annual Supply and Disposition by State, Kansas, Annual, 2014-19.
48 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Kansas, Annual, 2013-18.
49 ONEOK, Investor Update (November 2019), Mid-Continent Region, p. 45.
50 ONEOK, Natural Gas Pipelines, accessed March 24, 2020.
51 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Number of Existing Fields, Annual, 2013-18.
52 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Storage Capacity, Annual, 2013-18.
53 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2013-19.
54 U.S. Census Bureau, House Heating Fuel, Table B25040, 2018 ACS 1-Year Estimates Detailed Tables, Kansas.
55 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2014-19.
56 U.S. EIA, Energy Explained, How the United States uses energy, updated August 28, 2019.
57 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Kansas, Annual, 2014-19.
58 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, Net generation from all sectors (thousand megawatthours), Kansas, Annual 2001-19.
59 U.S. EIA, U.S. Nuclear Generation and Generating Capacity, Capacity and Generation by State and Reactor, 2020P.
60 U.S. Census Bureau, House Heating Fuel, Table B25040, 2018 ACS 1-Year Estimates Detailed Tables, Kansas.
61 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2020), Table 5.6.B.
62 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, Net generation from all sectors (thousand megawatthours), Kansas, Annual 2014-19.
63 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2020), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.B.
64 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Wind Energy in Kansas, Maps & Data, accessed March 19, 2020.
65 American Wind Energy Association, Wind Energy in Kansas, accessed March 19, 2020.
66 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2020), Table 6.5, Planned U.S. Electric Generating Unit Additions.
67 U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Solar Resource Data, Tools, and Maps, U.S. Annual Solar GHI, Kansas, (February 22, 2018).
68 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of January 2020, Plant State: Kansas, Technology: Landfill Gas.
69 Nebraska Energy Office, Comparison of Solar Power Potential by State (2006).
70 Solar Energy Industries Association, Solar State by State, Kansas Solar, accessed March 19, 2020.
71 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, Net generation from all sectors (thousand megawatthours), Kansas, Annual 2014-19.
72 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of January 2020, Plant State: Kansas, Technology: Landfill Gas.
73 Hart, Megan, "Report Shows High Hydropower Potential, Some Kansans Skeptical," The Topeka Capital-Journal (May 17, 2014).
74 Bowersock Hydropower, About Bowersock, accessed March 19, 2020.
75 Nebraska Government Website, Ethanol Facilities' Capacity by State, Ethanol Facilities Nameplate Capacity and Operating Production Ranked by State. updated July 3, 2018.
76 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table P1, Primary Energy Production Estimates in Physical Units, 2017.
77 Ethanol Producer Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, Operational, updated February 24, 2020.
78 U.S. EIA, U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity (August 26, 2019), Detailed nameplate capacity of fuel ethanol plants by Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD District) are available in XLS.
79 U.S. EIA, Monthly Biodiesel Production Report (January 31, 2019), Table 4, Biodiesel producers and production capacity by state.
80 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Renewable Energy Standard, Kansas, Overview, updated June 14, 2018.
81 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Net Metering, Kansas, Program Overview, updated November 30, 2018.
82 Uhlenhuth, Karen, "Kansas solar installations drop by more than a third after utility adds fee," Energy News Network (January 7, 2020).
83 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2018 (October 3, 2019), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2018.
84 University of Kansas, Kansas Geological Survey, Coal mining, accessed March 18, 2020.
85 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2018 (October 3, 2019), Table 6, Coal Production and Number of Mines by States and Coal Rank, 2018.
86 University of Kansas, Kansas Geological Survey, Coal mining, accessed March 18, 2020.
87 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2018 (October 3, 2019), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Kansas, Table DS-14, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2018.
88 U.S. EIA, State Electricity Profiles, Kansas Electricity Profile 2018, Table 2A , Ten largest plants by capacity, 2018 and Table 2B, Ten largest plants by generation, 2018.
89 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2018 (October 3, 2019), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Kansas, Table DS-14, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2018.