Kansas’ renewable energy standard could face elimination next legislative session

Dec 1, 2014

Wind turbines generate power at the Elk River Wind Farm, about six miles south of Beaumont in the southeastern corner of Butler County.
Credit BO RADER / kansas.com

Republicans may have gained enough seats in the Kansas House to end the state’s renewable energy standard in the last election.  Activists on both sides of the issue are preparing for a fight in the next legislative session reports the Wichita Eagle.

The policy is known as the renewable portfolio standard. It requires utility companies to get 20 percent of their powers from renewable sources by 2020.

Supporters say the standard is critical for developing the growing wind energy industry in the state, and eliminating it would stall development. 

Opponents say the standard leads to increases in electricity rates.  And, that renewable energy should compete with fossil fuels in the free market system.

The standard was passed in 2009 as part of a compromise the included building a coal-fired plant in the small, western town of Holcomb.  The new plant has not been constructed because of federal regulations.

Last year a bill to repeal the standard sailed through the Kansas Senate, but was defeated in the House.