Library from Kansas
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.
"There was a cold front that came through two weeks ago," said Kurt Bookout, public utilities director. "During the night we had the wind switch from 35 to 45 out of the south to 50 to 60 out of the north in the middle of the night." As the wind turbine was turning into the wind the blade tips deployed and flaired out as a braking mechanism. That caused one of the tips to break.
This newspaper has argued that the PTC created jobs. That is wrong. It displaced jobs elsewhere, and it is a net destroyer of American jobs because it raised the price of energy for manufacturers. All the companies that must then pay higher electric bills have less money left over to hire employees and grow their enterprises, and consumers have less money to spend as they see fit.
The biggest cuts will come in Fort Madison, where 407 workers at a wind turbine blade factory will be out of work. About 220 workers there will be retained. The company blamed difficult market conditions due to lack of congressional action on a wind energy tax credit as well as increased use of natural gas-fired power plants and an overall sluggish economy.
Siemens, a German conglomerate, announced Tuesday it is laying off 146 employees at its wind turbine nacelle plant in Hutchinson, leaving just 152 employees there. All told, 615 employees in Siemens' wind power business will lose their jobs. Siemens said the change would primarily affect employees in Iowa, Kansas and Florida.
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.
Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation of the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission for a conditional-use permit for Fort Hays State University to construct two wind turbines, contingent upon meeting several requirements. The project for two 2.1 megawatt Suzlon turbines.
Wind turbines interfere with agriculture, especially with aerial application of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, he said. Another detractor is this area's location on a major fall migratory route for whooping cranes, an endangered species.
"There's no money tree in Washington, D.C.," responded Huelskamp, opposed to renewing the subsidy set to expire at the end of the year. They pressed him about his support for other incentives benefitting agriculture and oil and gas. He criticized the comparison and defended his stand. ...Reno County resident Wayne Johnson told Huelskamp it was refreshing that Huelskamp was "holding firm."
Twisters ripped through Harper County, Kansas on May 19, 2012. Five turbines were destroyed at the nearby wind farm under construction. Debris from the torn blades was reported as far as 1 mile away. Duration: 2 minutes 27 seconds
A large piece of what looked like sheet metal fluttered from the sky before landing. It turned out to be a piece of fiberglass that had been ripped from a large wind turbine about a mile away.
Large turbine in Kingman County, KS destroyed by tornado. Debris flew up to one-mile from the turbine. Five turbines at the BP Wind facility under construction were destroyed.
An EF-3 tornado destroys a wind turbine south of Spivey and west of Duquoin in Harper County, Kansas. The HD video is shown at normal size, then it repeats with the video enlarged and enhanced to show the blades ripped off the wind turbine and flying through the air.
Five turbines were also destroyed at a nearby wind farm that's still under construction. The preliminary rating of the tornado northwest of Harper is an EF-3. Officials say that tornado damaged a farmstead four miles west of Harper. The maximum width of the tornado was 200 yards.
All lanes of US-56 highway from the K-31 junction in Osage County to the K-99 junction in Lyon County will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday so crews can remove from a ditch an overturned semi-trailer that was hauling a wind turbine tower.
Three wind turbines that power the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Cloud County Community College's Concordia campus are casting shadows that are too long.