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Power Generation

Westar Energy generates electricity around the clock. Every two to four seconds, we measure energy output against power consumption and make adjustments to the amount of electricity being generated. Our goal is to balance the amount of energy generated with the demand, all while keeping costs to a minimum for our customers. There are many ways to make electricity, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We believe the best approach to balancing our available resources, the needs of our customers and the environment is to diversify by using several methods.

Wind energy

Energy type: Renewable

Advantages: Fuel cost is zero; nearly zero environmental impact; wind is abundant in Kansas.

Disadvantages: Only produces energy when the wind is blowing; extremely difficult to match output to demand; costly without government subsidies.

Solar energy

Energy type: Renewable

Advantages: No emissions. Produces energy on hot days when energy is in great demand; solar panels can be built into rooftops.

Disadvantages: Very costly without government subsidies; does not produce electricity without sunlight.

Landfill gas

Energy type: Renewable

Advantages: Captures unwanted release of methane gas, which results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions; can produce power around the clock; cost competitive.

Disadvantages: Small scale; limited availability.

Natural gas turbines

Energy type: Fossil fuel

Advantages: Reliable, flexible and can produce power around the clock; fewer emissions than burning coal.

Disadvantages: More expensive than coal; volatile (unstable) price history.

Coal power plants

Energy type: Fossil fuel

Advantages: Very reliable; lowest-cost method of producing electricity from fossil fuels; coal has a stable price history.

Disadvantages: Higher carbon emissions than natural gas.

Nuclear power

Energy type: Atomic

Advantages: No emissions; Very reliable; produces power on demand; lowest-price fuel of any thermal power.

Disadvantages: Nuclear plants are very expensive to build and operate; requires specialized and expensive skills to ensure safety; "spent fuel" waste product must be carefully controlled.

Kanza Education and Science Park
I-70 & MacVicar Ave.
Topeka, KS 66606

The Education Station is open to the public 365 days a year. School field trips are always welcome.
Contact Larry Robbins with USD 501 at 785-295-3063 or by email.

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