Kansas Wind Energy Supply Chain

This project was undertaken to help the state of Kansas gain a better understanding of current activity in the wind industry in the region and provide the state with a foundation to develop a wind energy manufacturing base in response to the state’s emerging wind power generation industry.

As interest in this emerging industry continues to grow, and Kansas increases its participation, there is a need to 1) identify niche market opportunities where specific Kansas manufacturers may be competitive, 2) assist interested and capable companies in building a more detailed and objective business case for market entry and investment, 3) facilitate market access that gives the region’s manufacturers a viable opportunity to compete on a global basis, and 4) develop a supply chain strategy that brings together “difficult to replicate” resources/partners/actions for sustaining competitive advantage.

As a first step in fulfilling these stated needs, the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC), the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), the Blue/Green Alliance (BGA), the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) partnered to execute a state]wide manufacturing supply chain survey to assess interest, level of involvement, and capabilities of Kansas manufacturers with regard to the wind energy manufacturing industry.

At present there are not many manufacturers and service providers serving the wind industry although there is a lot of potential and interest. A total of 227 respondents filled out the survey and 210 complete responses were included in the final data analysis. About 27% of the survey responses reported that they are currently serving the wind power industry and the other 73% of the survey respondents are not currently supplying to the wind industry but indicated a great interest in this upcoming industry.

Sixty]six percent of the companies currently in the wind industry have planned future expansion projects related to the wind industry and most of the expansion plans involve increasing the equipment, personnel, facility size and gaining entrance into new markets. Further, 40% of the respondents currently in the wind industry reported they need assistance with their future growth objective with 61% indicating accessing accurate and detailed information as their major need. While quality control was the most important factor listed for workforce training, followed by safety, getting in touch with the right people and lack of product specifications were the biggest challenges faced by those companies. Only 18% of the companies were AWEA members but 41% have attended AWEA’s wind industry conference.

Of the companies that are not currently in the wind industry, 58% indicated being in the exploratory and information collecting stage in the process of considering/entering the wind industry. Further, about 50% of these companies reported that getting in touch with the right people and 47% indicated accessing the industry information are the two major things they need to move forward in this industry.

Only 18% (10 companies) of the respondents who are currently supplying to the wind industry are members of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) but 42% of the same group, 24 companies, had attended at least one AWEA conference.