The Kansas State Fair this week and next can thank Marion County for keeping the lights on and the speakers blaring.
Enel Green Power’s Diamond Vista wind farm is generating the electricity for the fair, which will be the first state fair 100% powered by renewable energy.
The prospect has Tampa resident Jeanne Rziha excited.
“I think it’s good publicity for them,” she said. “I hope it makes a difference in some people’s minds. The electricity is certainly cheaper.”
Rziha has turbines on the land she and her
husband own, and she looks forward to meeting with Diamond Vista representatives.
“I’ll be down there Wednesday,” she said. “I want to see if they have a booth so I can talk to them.”
Instead of using the literal electrons produced at Diamond Vista to power the state fair, renewable energy credits will be used equivalent to the power generated by the wind farm.
“It allows for, and verifies the claim that the state fair is 100% powered by Kansas wind,” said Marcus Krembs, director of sustainability for Enel North America. “We’re all excited about it.”
Each megawatt hour is directly equivalent to one renewable energy credit, which means the fair is expected to use 1,000 credits, he said.
Westar Energy and Kansas City Power & Light Company will supply power on-site, but there will be no added cost to either company, said Matt Epting, a public relations specialist with Enel.
While it’s the first state fair 100% powered by renewable energy, Enel is already looking at it as a long-term possibility, he said.
“We’d be very excited to sustain this type of partnership and relationship,” Epting said. “We plan to be an owner and operator of these projects in Kansas for several decades.
“We can call Kansas home, and we have very deep roots in Kansas.”
Energy production won’t be Enel’s only presence at the fair. The company will also have a tent Sept. 13 through 15 where fair-goers can interact with representatives and see a 15-foot, 500-pound portion of a wind turbine blade.
“We invite anyone to sign the blade or draw on it,” Krembs said. “We’ll have a little attraction, so hopefully it invites people to ask questions.”