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Farm, environmental groups ask state for energy standard

"We would rather the market prevail," said Dave Holthaus, lobbyist for Kansas Electric Cooperatives. "If indeed wind energy is cost effective, we'll be buying it like any other utility."

TOPEKA - Farm and conservation groups are urging legislators to mandate that Kansas utility companies invest in wind power or other renewable energy sources.

Often at odds with each other, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club both suggested to the Legislature's Select Joint Committee on Energy this week that Kansas lags behind in development of new energy sources.

"Currently 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of renewable standard," said Terry Holdren, Farm Bureau lobbyist.

Holdren said this year's high fossil fuel prices signify the state should encourage alternative energy sources.

"Those increases in costs will have a disastrous impact on farm incomes across the state," Holdren testified, "and dramatically impact the rural communities who rely on purchases by farm families to support their economies."

But utility companies oppose any new mandate on their energy supply.
"We would rather the market prevail," said Dave Holthaus, lobbyist for Kansas Electric Cooperatives. "If indeed wind energy is cost effective, we'll be buying it like any other utility."

A limited power transmission system to distribute wind power across much of rural Kansas... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
TOPEKA - Farm and conservation groups are urging legislators to mandate that Kansas utility companies invest in wind power or other renewable energy sources.

Often at odds with each other, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club both suggested to the Legislature's Select Joint Committee on Energy this week that Kansas lags behind in development of new energy sources.

"Currently 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of renewable standard," said Terry Holdren, Farm Bureau lobbyist.

Holdren said this year's high fossil fuel prices signify the state should encourage alternative energy sources.

"Those increases in costs will have a disastrous impact on farm incomes across the state," Holdren testified, "and dramatically impact the rural communities who rely on purchases by farm families to support their economies."

But utility companies oppose any new mandate on their energy supply.
"We would rather the market prevail," said Dave Holthaus, lobbyist for Kansas Electric Cooperatives. "If indeed wind energy is cost effective, we'll be buying it like any other utility."

A limited power transmission system to distribute wind power across much of rural Kansas makes it unattractive to most utilities.

Committee member Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington, however, applauded Farm Bureau's push for an alternative energy mandate, often called an RPS for "renewable portfolio standard."

"Utilities are currently not interested in the 'hassle' of wind," Lee said. "They need an RPS to encourage that."

If communities could develop wind farms and sell power to utilities, the towns could use the farms as economic development tools and sources of local income, she said.

Sierra Club chairman Bill Griffith, Leavenworth, told the committee that mandating purchase of alternative energy could "put the electric industry on a path toward increasing sustainability."

But Senate Utilities Chairman Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, said he doubted such a proposal could gain the full Legislature's support.

"I think we've looked at utilities to do it voluntarily when it's a true cost benefit to them," Emler said. "I expect we'll study the issue but I'm doubtful, I think we have a problem with mandating actions and then not assuring funding would be there."

Source: http://www.chanute.com/chns...

DEC 17 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/737-farm-environmental-groups-ask-state-for-energy-standard
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