The wind energy industry has grown in Kansas in recent years

Wichita, Kansas, prides itself as the Air Capital for the multitude of aircraft manufacturers that call it home, but after this week, it will have to contemplate a future without Boeing, the signature company of the city’s signature industry.

But another potential answer for Wichita is energy, a solution that both Charlotte and Fremont have embraced. And Kansas has one form of energy in abundance: wind power.

The wind farm industry has grown in Kansas in recent years, driven by a desire for energy independence and environmental protection. It has the support of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

In October, BP revealed plans to build the state’s largest wind farm, an $800 million, 419-megawatt operation that will stretch across four counties.

Wind turbines are made of the same composite materials as aircraft, and the skill sets needed to manufacture them are very similar. "That’s one of the targeted industries for south-central Kansas," Plummer said.