More than 220 energy industry leaders and stakeholders joined Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the Governor’s Economic Summit on Energy today at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. The summit is the ninth in a series of summits the Brownback Administration is holding focused on growing the Kansas economy and creating jobs.
Attendees discussed what the state can do to support the growth and economic development of renewable energy, traditional energy and utility transmission in the state of Kansas. Brownback said accomplishing sound energy solutions required input and collaboration between academia, industry and the public sector.
“We need to produce more energy here and bring less of it in from abroad,” Brownback said. “And we can do that. I have long stressed the importance of maintaining balance between the 3 Es - the Economy, Energy and the Environment. Kansas will expand its energy production in a responsible, smart, balanced approach that grows our state’s economy, creates jobs and protects our environment.”
The summit began with presentations by industry leaders Mark Ruelle, president and CFO, Westar Energy; Steve Rus, executive vice president, Black & Veatch; Dave Lucas, vice president, energy sales for the central midwest region, Siemens Energy; and Erik Bartsch, exploration and appraisal manager, Shell Oil Company.
"The administration heard from an all-star lineup of energy leaders today, and we learned a great deal about moving this sector forward," Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. "There is tremendous momentum in the energy sector right now, and we need to look for ways to capitalize on the opportunities."
The governor then led a roundtable discussion that touched on numerous topics including the impact of new oil drilling practice known as fracking, solar and wind development, and water conservation. Roundtable participants included Dave VanderGriend, ICM; Tom Robb, Abengoa; Rob Freeman, Tradewind; Jeff Roskam, KABB; Carl Huslig, ITC; Jay Caspary, Southwest Power Pool; Brad Dixon, Kansas Gas Service; Earnie Lehman, Midwest Energy; Ed Cross, KIOGA; John Graham, BP Wind Energy; and Patti Petersen-Klein, Kansas Corporation Commission.
Brownback said the information shared and gathered at today’s summit would be used to develop an action plan for the industry.