Energy & Environment

Plant officials at Siemens Wind Energy in Hutchinson say new orders will help the company avoid more layoffs for now.

The plant recently received orders to supply parts for wind farms being built in Southern California and Chile.

Siemens announced in September that it was cutting 60 percent of its Hutchinson workforce. The layoffs were completed this week, leaving the plant with 150 workers.

It once had more than 400 employees. Siemens also laid off 570 people at its Fort Madison, Iowa, plant and 62 others around the country.

Governor Sam Brownback is continuing his push for an extension of a wind energy tax credit. It helps make wind power cheaper, and it's set to expire at the end of the year.

The credit has driven the development of wind power. Brownback says the credit has a big impact on wind energy jobs in Kansas. He would like to see it phased out more slowly over the next three or four years.

"I don't disagree with those that believe this should be phased out. I think it should be, but I think just to go all of a sudden drop from 30 percent to zero in one year," says Brownback.

Council of economic advisors to the governor meets to discuss the aviation industry; Brownback speaks out about the wind Production Tax Credit; Case of electioneering surfaces in McPherson.

Gov.'s Council Meets To Discuss Growth In Aviation

The Kansas Governor's Council of Economic Advisors met in Wichita yesterday to discuss ways of increasing revenue - and the global competitiveness of the aviation industry.

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 Kobach predicts voter turnout to be around 68 percent; Kansas GOP says they may lose some House seats on Nov. 6; A hydroelectric power plant in Lawrence is expected to start operating Friday.

Kobach Predicts 68 Percent Voter Turnout In Kansas

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is predicting 68 percent voter turnout in Tuesday's elections. Kobach offered the forecast Thursday.

GOP Senators Say Problem Gambling Money Misspent

Two Republican state senators say even if the governor approves a request for increased funding to help problem gamblers, the money probably won’t be spent where it was intended under Kansas law.

Gary Haulmark of the Department for Aging and Disability Services has asked for a $3.5 million boost for problem gambling services. Senator Carolyn McGinn, of Sedgwick, wants lawyers for that department to justify how the money is being spent.

Siemens To Lay Off 150 Workers In Hutch

Sep 19, 2012
Nuala / Flickr

The company Siemens will lay off around 150 workers at their facility in Hutchinson.

The plant builds parts for wind turbines. The company blames a slowdown in wind turbine orders.

Siemens officials say uncertainty about a federal tax credit has slowed new wind power development, so they’re selling fewer wind turbines.

The credit helps pay for installing wind turbines, and it’s set to expire at the end of this year.

The company also says more natural gas power plants and the economy have slowed sales.

Sunflower Closing Arguments At KS Supreme Court Friday

Aug 31, 2012
Sierra Club

The Kansas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Friday in a challenge to the air quality permit granted almost two years ago for construction of a coal-fired power plant in Southwest Kansas.

The Sunflower case is to be taken up at 9:00 a.m. The arguments will be streamed live online from the Kansas Supreme Court.

MJIPhotos / Flickr

A beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in the eastern U.S. and parts of the South has now been detected in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture said Thursday a live emerald ash borer was found in a tree in Wyandotte County.

Trees there were being inspected after the presence of emerald ash borer was found last month in nearby Platte County, Missouri.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notified Kansas of the confirmation Wednesday.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Attracting Few Users

Aug 1, 2012

Westar Energy has installed about 52 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state of Kansas.

The company is participating in a pilot program to see who’s using the stations, and how often.

Spokesperson Shane Batchelder says the stations are getting a lot of use, but not by people who drive fully electric cars.

“They charge at night while they are asleep, and that certainly gets them through the day,” says Batchelder.

“I don’t think they billed into the plan a need to have to charge throughout the day.”

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