Library filed under Energy Policy from Kansas
Gov. Sam Brownback signed SB 318 Friday. The bill suspends “all state agency activities, studies, and investigations that are in furtherance of the preparation” of the plans that states are supposed to submit to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency as part of the Clean Power Plan.
The Kansas Senate advanced a bill that blocks the Kansas Corporation Commission from spending any money to study how to comply with the new federal Clean Power Plan until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves a pending legal challenge. Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe, added that amendment onto a bill that calls for disbanding the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority, an agency that was established to coordinate construction of new transmission lines to move wind energy to urban markets.
Republicans on a legislative committee that will oversee the state's implementation of a plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants said Thursday they would prefer to see those regulations overturned by federal courts.
The renewable power mandate in Kansas, which helped vault the state to become one of the top six wind power producers in the country, may be about to become a victim of its own success. Gov. Sam Brownback is poised to sign a bill repealing the mandate and making it voluntary instead.
The bill strikes the state's current requirement, known as a "renewable portfolio standard," or RPS, which requires electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020 and replaces it with a voluntary "goal." It also reduces property tax exemptions for renewable energy projects to 10 years instead of the life of the project.
The agreement is the culmination of several attempts to roll back the RPS, which requires utilities to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Last year, Brownback urged wind energy and conservative business groups to come to a compromise on the issue.
Gov. Sam Brownback joined business and legislative leaders Monday to unveil legislation transforming the state’s mandate to expand renewable energy into a voluntary goal and to reset tax policy for developers of power production facilities.
Brownback calls himself a strong supporter of wind energy because of its potential on the frequently gusty Plains, but he said in July that he’s open to phasing out the state’s rule because wind is no longer a fledgling industry in Kansas. He’s also called several times for the industry and opponents of the renewable-energy mandate to work out a compromise.
Much of the spending on the issue came from Americans for Prosperity, whose session-long bid to repeal the standards ended with the House's 60-63 vote on the last day of the session, May 2.
You cannot deliver wind energy standalone — rather, it must “merge” into existing base load, whatever the source. That merging and “demerging,” when the wind dies suddenly, presents special grid-balancing challenges to base-load providers, which adds to the cost of electricity.
“I can’t think of an industry that is better connected politically in getting favors from the state and federal government than wind energy, ethanol and all the green energies.” said Christine Harbin Hanson, of the Americans for Prosperity.
House members voted 63-60 against advancing a bill that would gradually end the state’s renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, which requires the state’s utility companies to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.
The revised legislation keeps the current 10 percent requirement and allows the 15 percent requirement to run from 2016 to 2021. But after that, the RPS would sunset, explained Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona ...Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee, accepted Knox’s offer.
The late extension of the federal Production Tax Credit in 2013 resulted in a 92 percent drop in completed installations nationwide ...That tax credit expired at the end of last year, and its future is iffy. In addition, in Kansas, wind energy has come under attack from powerful groups that want to do away with the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said continuation of the RPS in Kansas would eventually lead to a significant increase in the cost of electricity. "Forty percent increases to the electrical rates to your constituents," said Rhoades ..."Folks, be advised you vote this down people will be hearing about the fact that you allowed their rates to rise," Rhoades said.
The Senate passed a bill 25-15 Tuesday to repeal the renewable energy standards enacted in 2009. The mandate, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standards, require the state's utility companies to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Republicans in the Kansas Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would repeal the state's renewable energy standards. "Let's repeal this mandate and allow the free market system to work," said state Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe.
[The RPS] is not needed anymore,” said Mike O’Neal, president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. “I’d make an argument that it never was needed.” The RPS statute requires that utility companies get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015, and O’Neal said they’ve already reached that point. “Time to take the training wheels off. We don’t need the RPS anymore.”
Demands from conservatives to jettison Kansas' renewable energy standards died down by halftime of the 2014 legislative session, but like the Kansas weather, that could change at any moment. Asked if the effort to repeal renewable energy goals was dead for 2014, Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, responded. "Oh no. The session is just starting."
Mark Schreiber, Westar’s executive director of government affairs, told legislators that under current law his company “is paying net-metered customers a retail price for a wholesale commodity” and that the 1-to-1 kilowatt credit doesn’t account for infrastructure costs like power plants and power lines.