Library filed under Energy Policy from Kansas
Chamber leaders said businesses' concerns about energy costs are prompting it to enter the debate over a state law requiring utilities to see that renewable resources, such as wind power, account for 20 percent of their capacity to generate electricity by 2020. The chamber is not "anti-wind." "We are against government picking winners and losers. Wind energy has its place, but those investments have to be self-sustaining."
Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said she doesn’t like the mandate. “Clearly repeal of the RPS is on the table. It is our responsibility to see that our citizens have the most reliable and affordable energy possible. Renewable energy is very expensive.”
The bill would allow Kansas utilities to comply with state renewable-energy standards by purchasing credits - not actual power - from hydroelectric plants in the west, rather than investing the money directly in Kansas wind energy. ...Documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council show the proposed "model bill" will be considered this week by the group's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.
Rep. Dennis Hedke, said the pushback against renewable energy standards is about 2.9 million Kansans who are seeing higher energy rates that he says are driven largely by government mandates to use alternative energy sources. Hedke said electrical rates have increased 37 percent since 2008.
"Everyone who is an electricity consumer or who pays taxes that are handed over to the wind power industry has skin in the issue. Forcing Kansans to purchase more expensive renewable power harms almost everyone with skin in the issue."
The Senate voted 23-17 on Thursday to reject a bill postponing the renewable energy requirement for four years, until 2024. The action, which killed the measure, came hours after the House voted 63-59 sending its own legislation lowering the standards back to committee.
Anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist attempted to convince Kansas legislators Thursday to support a bill to weaken a state law requiring utilities to draw 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Renewable Portfolio Standards are coming under attack. The latest locale is Kansas, where the Republican-led legislature says that green energy mandates are distorting markets. ...It's all part of the national discussion over whether requiring utilities to either procure or to produce a percentage of their offerings from sustainable sources is a good thing.
Rep. Dennis Hedke, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Policy, said lack of progress on the coal plant prompted lawmakers to consider dumping the RPS or delaying targets two or four years. Some House and Senate members want to extract the state from meddling in oil, gas, nuclear, wind and solar businesses, he said.
The debate about climate change continues, and the discussion has now made its way to the Kansas Legislature. The Senate Standing Committee for Utilities is proposing to delay or modify the mandates established by the Renewable Energy Standards Act that would relieve utilities' requirements to use more renewable fuels.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Kansas is leading the U.S. in new wind farm installations this year. By the end of the year, eight new utility-scale wind projects will come online - representing approximately $3 billion in new investment - and the state will have more than doubled its installed wind power by adding 1.489 GW of new wind power capacity.
KPI President Dave Trabert said subsidized wind farms hurt the state's economy, that business investment in the state will be $191 million less than without the mandate. "It's easy to see windmills going up or an employer moving into town as a good thing," Trabert said in a KPI press release. "But it is often overlooked that they received a subsidy or incentive.
On wind, he said he opposes a measure called the Renewable Energy Standard that requires utilities all over the country to use a certain percentage of wind-generated electricity, although he has supported other wind tax credits. Renewing the production tax credit for wind farms in 2012 will be difficult, he said.
Gov. Sam Brownback is defending the process he used to make 11,000 square miles of the Flint Hills off-limits to wind farm expansion as part of his push to make the Kansas tallgrass prairie a premiere tourist destination.
Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday announced a plan that he said would protect the tallgrass prairie by preventing further development of commercial wind farms in the Flint Hills.
Fulfilling one of the final goals of former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas Corporation Commission has approved regulations directing utilities to get 15 percent of their electric power from renewable sources by 2016 - and 20 percent by 2020.
Invenergy project manager Will Furgeson said while he continues to pursue a proposed project in northern Ellis County, the increased setbacks adopted Monday have caused concern about creating a viable project in the county. ...Along with increased setbacks, the amended regulations call for a standard for noise in wind projects not to exceed 40 decibels.
Today, state Rep. Tom McMillin of Michigan introduced a resolution (H.R. 277) urging his state's governor to withdraw Michigan from continued participation in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA), an agreement among the region's governors to reduce greenhouse gases through a regional cap-and-trade program. ...nearby participating states intend to introduce similar measures in their own legislatures.
Two of the primary issues that have held back development of home or community-based turbines, industry experts say, are cost and regulation. Recent legislation has addressed each in part, but barriers remain. ..."We like the thoughts of wind turbines, but are opposed to law," said Bob Hall, manager of Ark Valley Electric Cooperative, saying it's unfair to the majority of its member customers and unreliable as an energy source.
A House committee endorsed a bill Thursday that ties two proposed coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas to proposals for promoting wind and other renewable energy sources. Supporters used the same strategy last year in an unsuccessful effort to clear the way for the coal plants despite Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' opposition.