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Renewable Energy Requirement Scrutinized in KS

Photo by Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers could consider repealing the state's renewable energy standards in the coming legislative session. The requirement says 20 percent of power generation needs to come from renewable sources by 2020. It has helped drive wind power development in Kansas

Republican Governor Sam Brownback has said he'll support an elimination of the standard if it's brokered by all sides.

"I'm a supporter of wind, but if there's a way that you can move forward without a regulatory regime on this I'm happy to look at it. I just want everybody in the room, the people that are for wind and people that are against wind, to work this out," says Brownback.

Opponents of the requirement argue it has increased utility rates and the government shouldn't mandate the use of wind power.

Supports of the requirement say it has driven the wind industry and created economic development and high-tech jobs.

The incoming top Democrat in the Kansas House, Tom Burroughs from Kansas city, Kansas, doesn't support cutting the requirement. He says eliminating the standard would hurt Kansas's reputation when trying to attract economic development.

"There's a been a tremendous amount of business investment made in the state and to go back and rescind the promises and commitment we made to an industry is not good public policy," says Burroughs.

The requirement was passed in 2009 as part of a deal to build a new coal power plant near Holcomb. That plant has yet to be built.


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