Keeping up with the Joneses

Cedar Crest, the Kansas governor's mansion, outside Topeka.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants a wind turbine at the governor’s mansion.

Brownback, a former U.S. Senator, is staunchly conservative, but has been supportive of tapping the state’s vast wind power reserves, and backed a federal renewable energy standard proposal while in Congress (however, he also notably campaigned against wind development in the scenic Flint Hills area of eastern Kansas — and yes, there are scenic areas in Kansas).

The idea to put up a wind turbine at the governor’s mansion called to mind the iconic oil rig in front of the Oklahoma state capitol – a counterpoint of sorts, energy future vs. the energy past and that sort of thing.

But it turns out that Oklahoma is also the first state in the U.S. to install a wind turbine at its governor’s mansion — a 10 kW project completed last May. A similar turbine went up on the capitol grounds a few weeks later.

Solar panels have been installed on state capitols in Wisconsin, Colorado and Oregon.

There’s nothing unusual about renewable energy projects at public buildings. But there’s a high level of symbolism to putting up a wind turbine at the governor’s mansion or the state capitol.

And the fact that the first states to make such a visible statement about wind power are also among the most conservative in the U.S. is further proof that the politics of renewable energy don’t break as cleanly along red/blue lines as some would have you believe.

Photo by Jimmy Emerson via Creative Commons

Comments are closed.