Articles filed under Energy Policy from Kansas
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.
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.