OVERLAND PARK — Sustainability has always been a priority for the University of Kansas and its Edwards Campus (KUEC) in Overland Park. Participation in Evergy’s Renewables Direct program is KUEC’s latest sustainability effort. The 20-year agreement KUEC signed with Evergy went into effect this month, supporting the expansion of wind energy in Kansas through the purchase of 400 kilowatts of wind energy offsets. The wind energy comes from the Ponderosa Wind Energy Center, located in Beaver County, Oklahoma, which began operating in 2020.
According to Evergy, the Renewables Direct program, created in 2018, “allows commercial and industrial customers to offset a percentage of their energy usage through a renewable resource.”
By bypassing more cost-prohibitive methods of renewable energy, the program allows KU to access renewable energy in a way that’s financially viable.
Evergy approached the KU Edwards Campus as a result of KU-Lawrence's prior involvement with the program.
Stuart Day, dean of the KU Edwards Campus and School of Professional Studies, said the Renewables Direct program offers an excellent opportunity to further KU’s goal of moving toward more sustainable practices.
“It’s been a priority to reduce our carbon footprint here at KU,” Day said. “When Evergy approached us with this program, we were more than happy to play a role in sustainability efforts that impact communities statewide.”
Since its creation in 2016, the KUEC Sustainability Committee has worked to incorporate sustainable practices on campus and educate students, staff and faculty on sustainability. The committee has supported additions such as electric vehicle charging stations, accessible recycling bins, updated signage, glass recycling, LED lighting and water bottle refill stations. As a result, the KU Edwards Campus was recognized as a "Green Office" by the KU Center for Sustainability in 2018. Annual events such as Campus Sustainability Week and Earth Day provide opportunities for faculty and students to get involved with efforts such as landscaping and litter pickup. The campus is also a member of the Green Business Network.
“The commitment by the University of Kansas to renewable electricity from wind helps grow wind development in our area, drives investment in local communities, creates jobs and demonstrates a commitment to sustainability,” said Jeff Martin, Evergy vice president, community and customer operations. “I congratulate KU for advancing its sustainability goals and supporting Kansas wind energy.”
Learn more about the Center for Sustainability at KU.
Learn more about Evergy’s Renewables Direct program.
Photo: KU Edwards Campus. Credit: Meg Kumin, KU Marketing Communications.