LAWRENCE -- Kansas continues to consume substantially more energy than it produces, according to the most recent report from the State Energy Resources Coordination Council.
The finding is part of the council's 2004 annual energy plan, to be presented to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas Legislature this week. The 13-member council was appointed in 2002 and was charged with studying and making recommendations related to energy in Kansas. The council's chair is Lee Allison, director of the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.
The state imported about 450 trillion British thermal units, or BTUs, of energy in 2003, about the same amount it imported the year before, says the report. If current trends continue, however, the state could import as much as 566 trillion BTUs by the year 2008, worth an estimated $2.3 billion.
While data for the past year are not complete, oil production appears to have increased slightly in 2003 and natural gas production was about the same, probably the result of stable prices for oil and higher prices for natural gas. Oil and natural gas are the source of 87 percent of the energy produced in the state, though production of both has declined in recent years due to the age of the state's oil and gas fields.
Production of a relatively new source of energy, coal-bed methane, expanded dramatically during 2003, however. Coal-bed methane is natural gas pumped from underground coal seams, found in the subsurface in the eastern third of the state.
Kansas coal-bed methane production in 2003 was about 7 billion cubic feet, worth about $40 million. That compares to 2002 production of about 4 billion cubic feet, worth an estimated $25 million.
"Coal-bed methane has added millions of dollars to local economies through production, landowner royalties and an increased property tax base, especially in southeastern Kansas," said Allison.
Other, nontraditional sources of energy, such as wind power and ethanol production, continued to attract attention in 2003.
In addition to reporting on the state's energy production and consumption, the report summarizes a series of recommendations by the council. These include continuing a study of the state's electrical transmission network, developing new guidelines for the siting of wind-energy development in the state and making recommendations for new approaches to meet the state's energy needs.
"Energy planning in Kansas is currently carried out in a piecemeal fashion by a number of organizations," said Allison. "One of the council's tasks in 2004 will be to carry on a public discussion of the state's needs in energy policy and planning."
The full text of the council's report, as well as other information about the council's activities, is available at the Kansas Energy Information Network Web site, www.kansasenergy.org/sercc.htm.
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