Panel to focus on renewable energy

Lawrence lawmaker to chair committee

? A new committee will start work next week on ways to stimulate renewable energy production, such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind.

“My charge to the committee will be, what can the state do with other stakeholders, to look five years and 10 years out?” said state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who will chair the House-Senate Committee on Energy.

Sloan said the state has failed to take a long-range view on energy, but needed to.

When asked whether Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ energy office was working on the same issues, Sloan said, “They haven’t come up with anything.”

Lee Allison, the director of Sebelius’ Science and Energy Office, disagreed.

“This administration has been pushing energy planning and policy from the moment it came in office, and we have done that over the lack of interest or sometimes opposition from the Legislature,” Allison said Friday.

Still, Allison said, the new legislative committee may be helpful and spark some collaboration.

The committee will hold meetings Wednesday and Thursday and hear testimony about the recent increase in gasoline prices, the status of the use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels, how the state can stimulate production facilities, and energy conservation.

The committee will also hear from proponents of wind energy, including Joe Spease, executive director of Kansas Unbound.

Spease is urging the Legislature to establish a requirement that Colorado has that requires utilities generate 10 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

“Kansas could be the recipient of the billions of investment dollars now flowing into Colorado for wind projects,” he said.

Energy adviser bound for Arizona

Topeka – Lee Allison is packing his backpack for Arizona.
Allison has served as Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ science and energy adviser since 2004 and was previously director of the Kansas University-based Kansas Geological Survey since 1999.
He has taken a job as Arizona state geologist and director of the Arizona Geological Survey in Tucson, Ariz.
Allison said the positions were similar to what he had done in Kansas.
He said he and his wife, Ann Becker, consider themselves western people. And the move will mean Becker, an engineering seismologist consultant, will be closer to her clients, who are mostly based in California.
Allison said he also was looking forward to hiking on public lands in Arizona and noted that Friday’s temperature in Tucson was 68 degrees.