A study released in 2002 ranked Kansas as the number one state in potential wind resources when existing transmission availability was factored in. With that in mind, Governor Kathleen Sebelius has requested Lee Allison, chair of the State Energy Resources Coordinating Council (SERCC) to appoint a special task force to study and make recommendations about the process of siting Windpower Projects in the Flint Hills/Tallgrass Prairie region of the state.Topeka, Kansas – January 23, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “The development of our state’s wind energy potential could play a role in helping to turn our state back into an energy exporter, enhance economic development and promote future energy security and independence,” Governor Sebelius said. Jerome Lonergan and Jerry Karr will co-chair the Wind & Prairie Task Force. Additional members will be named soon. The Task Force will examine and consider all of the key issues involved and recommend fundamental guidelines, principles, and best practices that can be utilized by local governments, landowners, project developers, and other interested stakeholders to site future wind energy projects in this environmentally sensitive region of the state. The Task Force’s primary goal will be to develop recommendations that will help decision-makers find an appropriate balance that promotes our state’s wind energy potential and preserves those natural ecosystems and places of scenic beauty, like the Flint Hills and the tallgrass prairie that cannot be easily replaced. Governor Sebelius has asked that the Task Force complete its study and report its recommendations by the end of May 2004. “We find many of our communities and citizens struggling to make tough choices as they work to enhance the opportunities provided by the development of our state’s wind energy resources while striving to meet our responsibilities of being good stewards of some of our most precious and beautiful natural resources,” Sebelius said. “A special SERCC Wind & Prairie Task Force will assist our communities and citizens to develop tools and resources that can help in the decision-making process.” Lonergan, Topeka, is President of Kansas, the state’s economic development research and policy agency. Lonergan previously served as Executive Director of the Kansas Electric Utilities Research Program (KEURP). Karr, Emporia, served in the Kansas Senate from 1980 to 1998. The Task Force is setting up a web page at the link below to post announcements of meetings and hearings, background materials, and contact information.