Editorials in Kansas: Time for policymakers to stand behind RPS

Kansans want wind energy projects to stay in their state. And they want leadership in their state to support policies promoting wind power's growth.

Several challenges to the Kansas renewable portfolio standard (RPS) have failed, with the most recent example being this past spring, and that's due mostly because everytime the issue comes up Kansans speak up loud and clear to tell state policymakers the RPS needs to continue because it helps to create economic prosperity in the state.

Well, here we go again.

In early September, Governor Brownback suggested intentions to repeal RPS. Shortly after, however, the Governor criticized Democrat Paul Davis for voting against RPS in 2009.

The Kansas governor's remarks have left many voters uncertain of his position on RPS and renewable energy. If the governor's position is unclear though, three editorials in the past week have confirmed that Kansans are anything but. The Kansas City Star, the Wichita Eagle, and the Hutchinson News all wrote in support of the RPS and called for state leadership to get on the right side of the issue:

From The Wichita Eagle:

75 percent of Kansans polled early this year said they supported the RPS, while two-thirds would support increasing it to 25 percent – even if it meant a slightly higher electric bill.

From Hutchnews.com:

The governor long has supported wind energy in Kansas, recognizing that it is a developing industry, representing the opportunity for tremendous economic growth for the state…

He should not compromise on the RPS. The RPS legislated a modest goal for Kansas electric utilities, one the utilities themselves supported, and they are comfortably on target to achieve the goal with Kansas already at 15 percent of its energy from renewable, well ahead of the 2016 mark for that goal.

From The Kansas City Star:

[RPS] has helped farmers who receive lease payments when wind turbines are placed on their properties, part of the reason several rural GOP lawmakers defend the RPS.

And the rules have not led to an explosion in electricity rates, despite reckless statements to the contrary by some state lawmakers.

Instead, as the Kansas Corporation Commission has found, the cost of the renewable mandate actually accounted for only about 2 percent of the cost of electricity in the state…

Repeated attempts in the Legislature to repeal the standard have not succeeded. Most recently that was because of some brave opposition by Republican lawmakers in the 2014 session. For that stance, at least six House members were targeted for defeat in August primaries. All won.

State leaders may still be deciding where they stand on RPS. But the people of Kansas have already made up their minds.



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