A southwest Kansas lawmaker says there is no debate about renewable energy standards according to a recent article from the Kansas City Star.
Kansas is home to a formidable wind energy industry. There are 20 wind farms and a $7 billion in capital investment. Wind farms create jobs in Kansas, and generate $8 million dollars annually in lease payments to landowners.
That economic impact cuts across party lines. Conservative Republican lawmakers like Rep. Ron Ryckman Sr of Meade see the benefits of wind energy.
Ryckman usually is against government mandates, but his district includes Gray County. The county has four wind farms who paid southwest Kansas county governments a total of $1.2 million this year.
Ryckman voted against repealing the standards.
“Wind energy is very important to my district. They are generating a lot of money,” Ryckman said. “It was a no-brainer for me to help protect the district. It was an easy vote for me.”
The federal mandate requires utilities to buy power from renewable sources. State laws vary. Kansas requires utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.
No state has repealed the regulation to this point, but bills to weaken the requirement were introduced in nine states, including Missouri and Kansas.
Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Senior Consumer Alliance are investing in repealing the standards. They spent more than $300,000 trying to repeal the standards this legislative session.
The Kansas Senior Consumer Alliance was founded by Ivan Crossland’s sister. Ivan Crossland is the chairman of the conservative-leaning Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
Koch Industries is a Kansas company. Koch Industries owns refining interests and opposes the renewable energy mandates. Billionaires Charles and David Koch founded and help fund Americans for Prosperity.