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Wind Power Compromise Would Eliminate the Kansas Renewable Energy Standard

Governor Brownback and lawmakers unveil the compromise. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)
Governor Brownback and lawmakers unveil the compromise. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The wind power industry, free-market business groups, the governor and lawmakers have unveiled a compromise to overhaul the Kansas renewable energy standard. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it would remove the mandate that 20 percent of power generation come from renewable sources and replace it with a voluntary goal.

Some advocacy groups get something they’ve wanted, eliminating the mandate for renewable energy. Mike O’Neal is president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

“For us, it’s about affordability and it’s about a free-market system of delivering resources to our customers in a mandate-free environment,” says O’Neal.

Representatives of the wind power industry say the deal will stop the annual debates on wind power policy in the Legislature and gives them certainty on future tax rates.

But Zack Pistora, with the Sierra Club, says environmental advocates are disappointed. He says if you’re going to a goal instead of a mandate, at least increase the goal.

“If it was a 25 percent goal, as opposed to 20 percent -because we’re at 20 percent at the end of the year- that would be a more legitimate compromise,” says Pistora.

The proposal will now need to pass the legislature.

Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.