TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas has become one of the leading states in wind energy, bypassing its Renewable Energy Standard goal of having 20 percent of an industry’s demand generated by renewable energy by 16.5 percent as of last year.

Ten years after the standard was created, the state has gone above what was originally planned, with investments of over $11 billion happening in wind energy.

“It’s a great industry for a variety of reasons,” said Department of Commerce Renewable Energy Coordinator Randi Tveitaraas Jack. “We’re taking advantage of a resource that we have and it’s a great growth opportunity for some Kansas communities that may not have some of the opportunities that other communities do.”

Tveitaraas Jack says that creating wind farms in rural areas creates jobs and puts money back into the community.

Kansas is ranked fourth in the nation for having 6,128 megawatts in current active wind farms, and the Department of Commerce plans to keep that surpassing this.

Many of these farms are driven by private companies including T-Mobile, Google, Microsoft and Royal Caribbean. These companies choose to partner with areas in Kansas in order to reach their renewable energy goals while also being cost-efficient.

There are currently 1,400 kilowatts under construction in Kansas, with a goal of 400 megawatts to begin next year.