Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Kansas

Energy investments - Not risk-free; Wind power has potential, but ratepayers shouldn't bear entire weight of developing it

Let's face it: Most homeowners don't buy wind generators or solar energy systems simply for environmental reasons. They make the investments because they're banking on a payoff in the form of lower energy costs. Westar Energy is no different in wanting a bang for its green-energy bucks, which is why it's seeking a rate increase to support an $830 million wind energy project. But just how much of a payoff should Westar receive? And at what risk? ...To some extent, it's reasonable to place the cost of wind power on the shoulders of ratepayers. After all, wind could provide Kansans with an abundant, environmentally friendly energy source to offset the cost of fossil fuels. Westar and its stockholders should be given the chance to obtain a fair return on the company's investment. At the same time, though, the company bears a responsibility for keeping cost increases to a minimum for its customers.
5 Dec 2007

Westar seeks rate hike for wind power

Westar is seeking the rate approval to recover $282 million for ownership of turbines at two proposed wind farms and for costs in purchasing energy from a third farm. The 300 megawatts of electricity would come from the Central Plains Wind Farm in Wichita County; Meridian Way Wind Farm in Cloud County and Flat Ridge Wind Farm in Barber County. ...Westar expects energy demand to continue growing among customers and while new wind energy can put off purchase of new "baseload" or constant power sources, for now, the utility expects it will need to build a new power plant between 2016 and 2018. ...Moore told commissioners Westar would walk away from the wind projects if they weren't allowed to earn at least a small profit from them.
4 Dec 2007

Westar: Profit in wind is required

Kansas can forget about wind power if Westar Energy doesn't get the chance to earn extra profit from it, the company's chief executive testified Monday. Westar chief executive Bill Moore also said Westar would scrap its wind energy plans if the company isn't allowed to build its own wind plants, or if regulators approve sanctions that would be triggered if wind power performs below expectations. "If the direction we're headed is not what the commission wants us to do, we won't go forward," Moore said. Monday was day one of a court-like hearing on how Westar will recover costs of adding about 300 megawatts of wind power to its energy system, which serves 674,000 Kansas customers.
4 Dec 2007

CURB: Did Sebelius exert influence?

A state consumer agency is demanding to know whether Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and her lieutenant governor have tried to influence state regulators who are about to decide how much consumers will have to pay for wind power from Westar Energy. The concern stems from a once-confidential memo written by the former chief executive of Westar Energy indicating that Sebelius and Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson influenced utilities to pursue large-scale wind power by promising they would be "fully compensated" for any added costs of building wind plants.
27 Nov 2007

Wind energy will raise power bills

In fact, nothing is going to raise our electricity rates faster than the installation of wind power. It is the most inefficient and overpriced form of power currently being flogged to consumers by "green-posing" politicians and profit-hungry wind developers. The real cost of wind power is staggering when you add it all up. ...Higher costs might be socially acceptable if wind could actually replace coal-fired generation, but it can't. Wind power is unpredictable and will always require backup from a reliable, on-demand, source. ...Beyond the direct costs of wind power, we must also factor in the socioeconomic and ecological costs. Foremost among these is the loss of property values, which reliable estimates suggest is about 30 percent, on average, for those unfortunate enough to become wind farm neighbors. ...Due to deceptive government legislation, the high costs of wind power are being temporarily concealed from consumers in order to encourage its public acceptance. But don't be fooled;
26 Oct 2007

Program to place wind turbines at schools

A program aided by the U.S. Department of Energy seeks to place small wind turbines at several rural Kansas high schools in the next three years. Wind for Schools is a national outreach effort of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, where organizers hope to familiarize rural America with a cheap local source of power. The program will help selected schools construct a 1.8-megawatt wind generator on a 60-foot tower. In addition, they'll provide educational support for all school levels to create lessons based on the turbine.
2 Jul 2007

80 families express opposition in Hays

On April 25, The Hays Daily News ran a fairly extensive news story on the proposed development of the industrial wind power generation plant west and southwest of Hays. That article stated that about 80 local families have expressed their opposition so far, but it did not say much about why there is this opposition. Let me try to explain very briefly some of the multiple sources of opposition. But please understand that this is an extremely brief explanation of each. More information is available at a public meeting being held tonight in the Fox Pavilion, starting at 7 p.m. and sponsored by the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition. (Full disclosure: I am a member of this group.) I would say that the opposition can be divided into three groups, and these groups often overlap.
2 May 2007

Schleede Responds to Kansas Lt. Governor Parkinson

Facts now demonstrate that much of the information about wind energy distributed by the wind industry and its advocates simply isn't correct. The public, media and government officials have been misled. Accepting the misinformation and adopting policies based on it isn't in the best interest of electric customers, taxpayers, or the environment – even though “wind farms” are highly profitable for organizations that enjoy the huge tax breaks and subsidies. Income for landowners who lease land for turbines is often at the expense of their neighbors........Please keep in mind that electricity generated from wind has less real value than electricity generated from reliable (“dispatchable”) generating units that can be counted on to be produce electricity when it is needed to serve customers demand. (Electricity from wind is intermittent, volatile and unreliable and most likely to be available at times when it is not needed to meet high electricity demand.) If electricity generated in Kansas from wind energy were to bear anything near its true cost (and considering transmission costs discussed below) there is no realistic basis to believe that it would be competitive with electricity from reliable generating units located near population centers.
20 Jan 2007

Stretching or Ignoring Facts and Making Unwarranted Assumptions when Attempting to Justify Wind Energy

1stret_1_thumb This paper: • Lists key reasons why political leaders and regulators are facing problems when attempting to deal with wind energy. • Provides more information on the effort in Kansas to evaluate wind energy. • Identifies facts about wind energy that are often not taken into account by political leaders and regulators. • Comments on the efforts in Kansas to promote greater use of wind energy. • Outlines lessons for all government officials that can be learned from the efforts in Kansas.
31 Oct 2006

Credits help Utilities go green

Wind farms in Kansas, Nebraska and California will play a role in Colorado Springs Utilities’ compliance with a voter-approved mandate on renewable energy. But homes and businesses in Colorado Springs won’t be getting electricity produced by harnessing wind in those places. Instead, renewable energy credits will be logged into Colorado Springs Utilities’ books.
23 Sep 2006

Anderson: lobbyists pushing hard for renewable energy

This means, said Anderson, that they are seeking to impose a requirement that all companies purchase a certain amount of their energy from this renewable source. “The problem is that no one wants to buy the energy they are producing because of the high cost involved,” said Anderson. “However, they are pushing hard and I don't know at this time whether they will be successful or not.”
29 Dec 2005

Tom Hewson Analyses Carbon Dioxide Savings of Gray County Wind Farm (KS)

Given its location, Gray County would have displaced mostly NGCC and some oil fired generation. Using the average 2003 NGCC heatrate for the sub-powerpool (7,478 Btu/kWh) and the average CO2 content of natural gas (116 #CO2/MMBtu), the project may have displaced only 158,000 tons of CO2 in 2003 (0.00207% of 2003 US estimated emissions according to the USDOE report entitled Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 2003 (issued December 13, 2004). (Note in 2002, the output was less and it would have displaced only 140,000 tons).
1 Jan 2005
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