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David Weiskopf’s Blog

Kansas's Renewable Portfolio Standard is Under Attack (Again!)

David Weiskopf

Posted March 18, 2014 in Solving Global Warming

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Here in the Midwest we are seeing the perennial first signs of Spring: a few early buds are appearing on the magnolia trees, rivers and lakes are starting to thaw, and of course, ALEC and the Koch brothers are pushing yet another pointless and harmful attack on Kansas’s wildly successful Renewable Energy Standard.

This year’s bill, SB 433, is sponsored by the Kansas Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, which is chaired by Ty Masterson, a known ALEC member and supporter of last year’s failed attack on renewable energy policy in Kansas.

There will be a public hearing on the bill at 1 p.m. (half an hour earier than the usual hearing time) this Wednesday, March 19th at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Room 548 South. 

It is difficult to understand why these attacks on job-creating, investment-spurring, clean energy policies continue to pop up every spring like weeds in a (solar) garden. After all, the policy has helped to spur over $7 billion in new investment in the state and create 13,000 jobs in an otherwise struggling economy. So it is no wonder that 91% of Kansans support doing more with clean energy and more than two-thirds would support increasing the Renewable Energy Standard from its current goal of 20% renewables to 25% by 2020.  

Kansas is a major renewables powerhouse – literally. It has the second best wind resource in the country with the technical potential to supply enough electricity to supply all of the state’s energy more than 90 times over. The state already produces enough electricity from wind to power over 840,000 American households, and Kansas is just beginning to scratch the surface of what can be done with solar power. That means Kansas wind provides more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the combined populations of Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka, Omaha, Nebraska and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and still have enough left over for Minneapolis!

All of that wind power in Kansas and elsewhere, along with Energy Efficiency, helped keep the lights on and prevented even higher price spikes for electricity and natural gas during the harsh winter this year. It has also provided a vital new source of income to Kansas farmers, in the form of nearly $14 $16 million in royalty payments.

With all of the benefits renewable energy has already brought to Kansas, and with even more to come as solar and efficiency scale up to match the contribution wind is already making, Spring is definitely in the air in Kansas – as long as short sighted bills that only a big polluter could love don’t put a big chill on it.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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