KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s an effort to go green at Kansas City International Airport. Thousands of acres of city owned land near KCI could soon be put to use for a solar farm.
A shift toward renewable, sustainable energy sources, that’s “KCI Solar”. The city hopes lift-off of this project will protect people’s health and the environment. Plus, it could offer resiliency in the energy grid.
“It would probably be one of the largest solar arrays in the country,” City Manager Brian Platt said.
He said they’re looking at about 5,000 acres of city owned land.
Right now, they’re thinking the solar farm could sit on about 2,000 acres, generating up to 300 megawatts of power.
They’re hoping to learn more when the feasibility study is complete in the next couple of months. So, nothing’s set in stone quite yet.
“There’s a possibility and potential for an area of this size to power most or all the homes and businesses in Kansas City – everything,” Platt said.
So, when bad weather hits in other parts of the country, Platt said this could mean no rolling blackouts for Kansas City like we saw earlier this year.
“We won’t need to rely on any other sources of energy,” Platt said. “And we won’t be at the behest of weather in other parts of the country.”
“Something that could serve not just the airport facility or city buildings, but fundamentally can actually serve the entire community,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “It’s the sort of things that could light up thousands of households if we’re able to make sure we’re able to work through the regulatory challenges.”
The solar farm is a years-long project.
It could cost billions but Platt said they don’t need to use taxpayer money to build.
“Instead, you use typically energy companies that will do this sort of investment for us,” Lucas said. “Part of the payoff is, is that they get to use the power then after that.”
Lucas said another powerful pay-off is the appeal.
This would make Kansas City more attractive to companies and competitions, like the 2026 FIFA world cup.
“And my hope is that by January 2023 when we’re cutting the ribbon on our brand-new airport terminal, we’re able to tell people, look at this great project outside,” Lucas said.
Platt said they’re still in the very beginning stages, but it’s possible they could start building in 2022.