April 13, 2011
Riley County, KS – The name Kansas comes from the Kansa Indian, which means people of the south wind. There was plenty of that Kansas wind Wednesday as Riley County kicked off its Resourceful Kansas program.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have this laboratory here,” Director of the Kansas Wind Application Center Ruth Douglas Miller says. “It’s one thing to teach about it. It’s quite another to come out and say look, here we have four examples.”
Thanks to a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Riley County Public Works Department has wind turbines, geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels, which will not only save the county money but help educate other Kansans.
“What’s installed here will not quite, but almost, cover all of the energy needs for these buildings right now,” Miller says.
“Let’s develop them,” Governer Sam Brownback told the crowd at the ribbon cutting Wednesday. “Let’s encourage this. Let’s encourage the development so that people can do the economic choice that is also the environmental choice.”
K-State will be using the information that comes from these turbines to teach students about renewable energy and also using the facility to teach their energy management team how to save money. Hopefully saving the $16 million spent on utilities annually.
“We’re focused on reducing that as much as we can because every dollar we spend on energy is dollars that aren’t going into student experiences,” K-State Director of Sustainability Ben Champion says.
Part of the grant is for seminars that the county will be hosting to teach other counties, school districts and organizations how they can save money.
To be a part of one of those seminars, contact the Riley County Public Works at 785-539-2981.