Archive for Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Energy initiatives encouraged

House committee urged to boost wind energy, conservation

January 17, 2007


State energy officials Tuesday urged lawmakers to adopt measures to increase wind energy and promote conservation.

"We believe there are tremendous opportunities for the state," said Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who serves as co-chair of the Kansas Energy Council.

Ken Frahm, the other co-chair, told the House Energy and Utilities Committee that conservation alone in Kansas could erase the need for a new electric generation plant.

The council has recommended that the Legislature require utilities to provide customers with services that show how customers could conserve energy.

In return, the utilities would be allowed to recover from customers the cost of conservation, similar to the way they recover costs of building new plants.

The council also wants homes listed for sale to come with energy cost disclosures. The council also is encouraging the state to work with cities in developing minimum standards for energy efficiency in construction of new homes.

On renewable resources, Parkinson said the state had yet to live up to its wind-energy potential, adding that the state needed to promote the construction of transmission lines to move wind-generated electricity.

"We need to get started on that right now," he said, noting that it usually takes four to five years to construct a line.

The state also should guarantee that utilities can recover their operating costs in developing wind.

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, a member of both the Energy Council and the Utilities Committee, said the state needed to work toward more wind and other forms of energy production.

"The state needs fuel diversification," he said.

Although wind energy costs more than coal-produced electricity, he said, it is becoming a more attractive investment because of the rising costs of coal, transportation and materials to build coal plants.

Wind supporters also have noted that with coal-fired plants come health costs.

In her budget proposal, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has recommended that the state spend $1 million to spur construction of a transmission line for wind-generated electricity.

In addition, Sebelius said, the state should produce 10 percent of its electricity needs from wind by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020.

Sloan said that construction of a transmission line to move power from west Kansas to other areas was crucial.

A new state group, the Kansas Energy Transmission Authority, is considering how to generate placement of a new line, which could cost from $60 million to $100 million.

"The governor's proposal and KETA are a means of pressuring utilities to look at transmission lines that will benefit the state," Sloan said.


Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

Scientists say we must begin to significantly reduce our emissions within the next ten years if we are to avoid the most dangerous impacts of global warming. The window of opportunity is closing, and the time for action is now. It's time for America to take responsibility as the world's #1 polluter by capping global warming pollution.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution. Cars, trucks and SUVs run a close second.

Immediate action is required. America must begin to reduce global warming pollution now. We must guarantee global warming pollution reductions, with enforceable deadlines. And we need to start an "Energy Revolution" by promoting clean and efficient sources of energy, not dirty and dangerous fossil fuels or nuclear power.

We are reaching for national solutions on climate change, including:

A national cap and trade system that makes real reductions within a decade The idea behind a cap and trade system is that industries would be given a peak amount of global warming pollution based on their current pollution rate. That cap would be reduced over time, and industry would be forced to upgrade technology and reduce pollution. Some industries are improving faster than others, and to provide balance, those industries could sell credits to other companies who are lagging behind. But in time, all global warming pollution would be reduced.

A national renewable energy standard of at least 20% by 2020 The amount of money invested in renewable energy today is a tiny fraction of the overall energy sector. With little comparative investment, wind and solar technology have come a long way, and have increasingly grown in market share. In fact, globally, wind energy is the fastest growing source of new energy. But to make a major shift away from fossil fuels will require government incentive. That's why we're calling on Congress to require 20% of the nation's energy come from renewable resources by 2020.

An increase in average fuel economy to 40 mpg Raising fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 40 mpg over the next decade would yield cumulative oil savings of 3 to 4 billion barrels, and 15 billion barrels by 2020. That's more oil than we currently import from the Persian Gulf, and nearly ten times the oil that could be recovered from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

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