Archive for Monday, October 1, 2007

Westar plans $500M wind program

Rate increase sought to launch energy proposal

October 1, 2007

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Westar looks to create $500M wind program

More Kansans will start getting electricity from renewable sources if a new proposal from Westar Energy wins approval. Enlarge video

— Westar Energy on Monday asked for a rate increase to launch the largest wind-generated electricity program in the state.

If enacted, the deal would produce three wind farms at a cost of more than $500 million that would produce 300 megawatts of energy by late 2008, according to Westar.

That would nearly double present wind generation in Kansas and provide enough electricity to power a city the size of Lawrence.

And the Topeka-based company indicated it will seek an additional 200 megawatts of wind energy by the end of 2010.

Westar's plan was endorsed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and other key officials.

"This commitment from Westar will help us secure a clean energy future in Kansas," Sebelius said.

But Westar said the proposal is dependent on approval of its rate increase request filed with the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Under the plan, Westar's residential customers would see a $2 to $2.50 per month increase in their electric bills. That would be a base rate increase ranging from $27 million to $32 million, officials said.

And Westar, the state's largest electric utility with about 673,000 customers including Lawrence, is seeking quick approval - by the end of this year, which in rate-increase cases is lightning quick.

David Springe, consumer counsel for the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, which advocates for consumers, said Westar's proposed time frame for getting approval was "aggressive."

He said CURB would take a careful look at Westar's plan.

"Our board does believe that having some wind as part of our portfolio is a good thing to do," Springe said. "But we want to make sure we have it in the least expensive manner possible."

Westar said wind resources may lower long-term energy costs, but in the short term an increase was needed to retain reasonable rates while protecting against future fossil fuel costs.

The company also said the development of wind energy will help it delay the need to build another coal plant.

" ... If we can defer that as long as possible, we believe that will benefit our customers and our state," said Bill Moore, Westar's president and chief executive officer.

Under the plan, Westar would own about half of the wind generation at a cost of $282 million, and purchase energy under supply contracts.

The proposed wind projects are:

¢ Construction of a 99 megawatt farm in Wichita County between Leoti and Scott City.

¢ Purchase of 96 megawatts from the Meridian Way Wind Farm near Concordia in Cloud County.

¢ A proposed 100 megawatt wind farm near Medicine Lodge in Barber County.

Kansas has been cited in national studies as being in the top three states when it comes to the potential for wind energy, but it has lagged in developing wind generation behind states such as Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and California.

Kansas currently produces about 364 megawatts of electricity from wind power, according to state officials.

State Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, who chairs the House Energy and Utilities Committee, said, "Westar's addition of three large wind farms and their intent to seek an additional 200 megawatts will make Kansas a leader as the largest per capita producer of wind energy in the United States."

Comments

preebo 7 years, 8 months ago

All for it. This is a step in the right direction...

lounger 7 years, 8 months ago

Wind -yes, yes, yes!!! Coal-no, no, no!!!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

BUT still say NO to more polluting coal fired generation. It's old thinking. Time to move forward like the European Union is doing. Pollution is nowhere and expensive. Time to wise up.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 8 months ago

Coal is major big part of future US energy production, and for every new clean coal-fired unit that goes online, an old dirty coal-fired unit goes off line. Some of you are so anti-coal that you can't recognize something good when it comes along.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

European Diplomats Castigate Bush Over Climate Change

The Guardian newspaper reports President Bush was castigated by European diplomats on Friday and found himself isolated after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress. European ministers, diplomats and officials attending the Washington conference criticized Bush for failing again to commit to binding action on climate change. Britain and almost all other European countries want mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse emissions. President Bush is pushing for nations to voluntarily reduce emissions. Morgens Peter Carl outlined the European Commission's vision on how to tackle the crisis.

Morgens Peter Carl: "What we have put on the table is two-fold. In the first place, an offer that we are prepared to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by the year 2020 provided that other major emitters match and the developed countries do the same. And second, and perhaps at least as importantly, we have made a decision, not a commitment, it's a unilateral decision that we will, whatever comes out of the planned negotiation, reduce our CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020."

Prosecutions of Polluters Plummets Since Bush Took Office In other environmental news, the Washington Post has revealed the Environmental Protection Agency's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply since President Bush took office. The number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions are all down by more than a third. Critics of the agency say its flagging efforts have emboldened polluters to flout environmental laws, threatening progress in cleaning the air, protecting wildlife and eliminating hazardous materials.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

But wait, how can this be true? I thought Bozo told us just days ago the future of electric power was in expensive individually owned and maintained solar panels and Agnostic was railing against Westar and its former CEO Dave Wittig. As for the castigation of politicians, the most recent research strongly suggests that politicians have little or nothing to castigate.... just kidding!

Actually, the most recent research is that the output of the sun is a major contributing factor to climate change and adds weight to the views of David Bellamy, the conservationist, and a growing number of others.

"Global warming - at least the modern nightmare version - is a myth," he said. "I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy-makers (including "W", I might add) are not. Instead, they have an unshakeable faith in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement: humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide - the principal so-called greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up. They say this is global warming: I say this is poppycock." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/18/ixnewstop.html

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Agnostic, no technology is cost free. The real question is, what is more efficient (economically and enviromentally), individually purchased, owned and maintained solar panels (which are hardly "clean" to produce I might add) or a large corporation with the access to the capital markets for initial investment and ongoing economies of scale providing large amounts of power, and then charging you a government regulated monthly fee? You think the former, I think the latter. Feel free to invest your own time and money in your private solar cell farm and let us know just how well you do. BTW, can you imagine the environmental impact of producing enough solar panels to power even a fraction of a modern countries need compared to wind turbines?

As I have accomplished both #1 and #2 above in a single paragraph, Ill look at the other thread to see what nonsense has been posted there!

gccs14r 7 years, 8 months ago

I fail to see how buying 96 megawatts of wind power from another provider counts as building new wind power.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

"Under the plan, Westar would own about HALF of the wind generation at a cost of $282 million, and purchase energy under supply contracts." Purchasing 96 megawatts of excess wind generated power from another provider reduces the need for capital investment from Westar, and ultimately the ratepayers, to produce that 96 megawatts of power. By sharing the investment and the rewards, they reduce their risk by diversification. That should have been obvious, guess not.

David Springe and CURB have an excellent record of exposing waste and abuse at Westar and other public regulated utilities. I doubt he is on the Christmas card list of former Westar Executives named "Dave" as his efforts led directly to their dismissal and indictment. As a Westar stockholder and Westar consumer I have nothing but praise and admiration for him personally and professionally and I would trust CURB's judgment on the plan.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Isn't this exactly what I feared that the utilities would take "it upon themselves" to put in the turbines and STILL charge outlandish fees. How about just a temporary cost increase to cover expenses. As the need to pay for coal is diminished surely they would not expect us to pay for both? That is the only thing wrong with the whole deal because realize already that Half the money is for a wind farm already in production. And its windy enough in Lawrence to at least power a few city buses with one of our own, now that would be innovative. "Kansas has been cited in national studies as being in the top three states when it comes to the potential for wind energy, but it has lagged in developing wind generation"---Kansas lacks insight anymore. This summer almost every state I drove through had them except Kansas. All in all it is about time. But, I still may just do it for myself on a smaller scale.

And Happy birthday Marion !

blessed3x 7 years, 8 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:

BUT still say NO to more polluting coal fired generation. It's old thinking. Time to move forward like the European Union is doing. Pollution is nowhere and expensive. Time to wise up.

Merrill, I too agree that we need many more nuclear power plants just as the French have done. I don't know that I've ever agreed with you on anything before. Scary!

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Nuclear is safe as long as you have water and electricity to make it so. Its that natural disaster that I worry about that eliminate those things and make a even bigger problem. And it takes billions and 12 years to build doesn't reduce dependence on oil.

hk45 7 years, 8 months ago

I believe wind energy is a nice idea, but it has its faults just as any other form of energy. Wind energy day to day output is not guaranteed and can be inconsistent because of the changing weather conditions. I still believe the coal plant should be built in Holcomb even with the wind farm for several reasons. 1. The coal plant does not provide power to Westar. 2. The coal plant will be a huge economic boost for a dying portion of OUR state. 3. The plant will be built up to the highest standards. 4. It will help develop our nation's energy infrastructure.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Despite Sigmund's usual unsupported, ideologically biased assertions, one of the beauties of wind and solar power is that they in fact do lend themselves to economically viable distributed generation. Sure, companies like Westar would prefer to corner the market on all power generation in the regions it monopolizes-- that's just the nature of monopolies-- but that doesn't mean we have to concede to a centralized system that Stalinists like Sigmund demand..

While I think Westar should be allowed to move forward with these projects (after the rate increases are closely srutinized and right-sized to eliminate any price-gouging that is almost surely currently built in,) they should be accompanied by a new state law allowing net metering, meaning if you feed electricity onto the grid, your meter turns backwards at the same rate that Westar or other utility charges you. There should also be increased tax credits for installing small-scale wind and solar power generation, along with greately expanded programs to encourage private homes and businesses to increase their energy efficiency.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes! Way to go Westar! This is exactly what we need more of in the state of Kansas. Now, if only we could convert those coal-fired Holcomb plants into wind farms, that would be something.

But -- this is an important step forward. Kudos to the enlightened folks at Westar. Thank you!

preebo 7 years, 8 months ago

  1. The coal plant does not provide power to Westar.
  2. The coal plant will be a huge economic boost for a dying portion of OUR state.
  3. The plant will be built up to the highest standards.
  4. It will help develop our nation's energy infrastructure.

All of these arguments are faulty.

Here's how.

Not going to Westar? Your are right. They would be helping Colorado's energy needs, while polluting our skies. This is Colorado's Excel Energy end-a-round Amendment 37 that requires 10% energy produced in the state come from renewable means.

Huge economic boost? Not hardly. The revenue would benefit the contractor building the facility, the engineers, and perhaps the 50 or so jobs that would manage the plant. Dying part of our state? I would argue that Butler County and other South Central communities, south of Wichita, are more worse off then Holcomb, which relys heavily on the Agro-Business industry. As a matter of fact the poorest county in Kansas is Chautaqua County.

Highest standards? Again, hardly. As renewable energy would be the highest standard. Coal fire plants no matter how efficient still release CO2 and other harmful particulates into the air. Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Biomass, Hydroelectric produce none.

Develop our Nations energy infrastructure? How so? And wouldn't creating more renewable energy infrastructure? Doesn't this render your last argument moot? I suppose it does.

Say what you will, but renewable energy is the future. Even the Red-Staters realize this.

salad 7 years, 8 months ago

All this new wind power is only equal to about 1/2 a standard coal or nuke plant, and at $500 million, that's not a very good value for our money. For the same amount of money, we'd get twice the power from a coal plant. Personally, I think converting 100% to locally generated power via wind, solar, geothermal is preferable, but I also don't mind making a sacrifice and enduring the inevitable power outages, brown-outs, and periods of no service. This is what you'd have with wind and solar power, but Americans are like spoiled little children and can't stand a single inconvenience. This is why we have our inefficient, yet effective coal/nuke/gas system, and will continue to burn coal until it's all gone or it becomes more expensive than some other fuel. It is the way of our people.

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

Preebo: I would check, and check-mate your comparison of economies of Butler/South Central Kansas to Holcomb/SW Kansas. Dead wrong. Not even close.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Despite Bozo's usual unsupported claims that individuals have the ready capital, knowledge, and expertise to build and manage many small distributed solar farms, the truth of the matter is they are not nearly as economically efficient as what can be obtained by large corporations. Electric utilities, as opposed to your average Bozo, can build on industrial scales and can more easily obtain economies of scale (read more power and less cost per unit of electricity generated). Despite his claims that this is somehow a "Stalinist Scheme," he and others are still free to put their own money into $11,000 worth of solar panels that may or may not generate enough electricity for his household (not including his refrigerator, if I recall correctly) all without fear of being sent to the Gulags. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/sep...

For a Capitalist perspective, take that same $11,000 and buy 450 shares Westar Energy Stock. with a yield of 4.4% that would provide $40/month in dividends, not to mention the potential for capital appreciation. That might not cover your entire electric bill (including your refrigerator) but you won't have to maintain or insure it against hail, your neighborhood association won't complain how fugly it is and that it violates the Home Owners Association rules, the zoning board won't be hounding you for building permits, your real estate taxes won't go up, the Lawrence Traffic Safety Commission won't be wringing their hands that the glare of the sun off the panels might blind bicyclists, and if you are unfortunate enough to live in an area of historic importance, the Historic Commission won't be demanding that you use the same type of solar panels in use when Quantril Raiders came to town.

Individual distributed solar panels isn't the future of energy for urban areas like Lawrence, its a Mother Jones 60's flashback. A fugly, expensive, inefficient eyesore that best left for boy geniuses like Bozo. The rest of us folk will just have to live here in the real world.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 8 months ago

"That's a lie."

No, it's the truth. It's the truth that sub critical boilers use more coal than super critical boilers. It's the truth that more money is spent on maintenance of a 50 yr old plant than a new plant. It's the truth that operators don't run plants to lose money. New plants replace old plants.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Wind energy, if it were a viable, would already be a signifiant source of generation since the concept has been around for a long time. But it's not for a variety of reasons ranging from quality of eletricity generated and dumped into the grid to maintenance to the simple fact that the wind doesn't blow all the time, yet the units still require maintenance. Each hour of downtime adds, exponentially, to the cost of generation and it keeps getting more costly, not less costly. That will be the case until electricity can be stored in large amounts, which it can't. It must be produced and consumed.

I don't want to pay more on my electric bill for Westar to indulge in a losing business proposition.

The solution to clean generation is in combined cycle (low sulfur coal and natural gas) or natural gas electric generation or nuclear. These choices all reduce pollution and eventual cost to consumers.

Furthermore, Westar has not taken the responsibility to reduce costs, which is to get rid of worthless departments like marketing and sales. We're all paying for a lot of people under the guise of residential, commercial and industrial "marketing/sales" people. Wake up. Westar operates exclusively in a franchised territory (and don't tell me that Westar has to "compete" against natural gas,that's bull) and have no need to "sell" their indispensable product.

Westar, get rid of the millions of dollars you waste in phoney/baloney marketing and sales ventures and worthless feel-good programs like wind generation. I could go on but my fingers are getting tired.

imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

marion-

don't forget to take a few advils and drink plenty of water....

salad 7 years, 8 months ago

"Huge economic boost? Not hardly. The revenue would benefit the contractor building the facility, the engineers, and perhaps the 50 or so jobs that would manage the plant"

You're off the mark here Preebo. If the three plants coal plants in western KS go through, it'll be about a billion dollars worth of total investment. The contractor will be busy here for several years and it will require thousands of workers, not a couple hundred. It also will require almost 1000 engineers plus support staff. Plant staff are in the hundreds/plant, since the plant runs 24/7. Now granted, most of the money will probably flow to the KC area, namely Black & Veatch or Burns & Mac, but it's still a big investment. You are, however, correct that renewable energy is the future. It's a mathematical impossibility to think that we can burn ancient sunlight (coal, gas, oil) forever. We will have to find a way to burn future sunlight, but we'll wait until we've burnt every last scrap of coal and drop of oil out of the earth. It is our way.
Think about it this way, it's like all those corporate meetings people have to attend: None of us is as dumb as all of us!

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Agreed that renewable energy is the solution, given the proper technologies to capture, use and one day, store the energy for use when the renewable sources are asleep.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Ah, I get it. Sigmund has major investements in companies like Westar, and is scared to death that his dinosaur investments won't provide the miracle return he thinks is his god-given right.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

The biggest problem I have with public utilities is that they are run by people who obtain their new program funds from ratepayer increases. If the venture is viable, why don't they do it themselves, as a standalone, for-profit venture. Why? Because they already know that the venture would be a loser.

The utility manager mentality is to go to the ratepayers for their fun money. I'm tired of it and do not want to add wind energy to the money already wasted in many other utility ventures. Go CURB, GO!!!.

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Bozo, it is good to have you back and It is just like old times. Your posts are full of personal attack and lack while at the same time any specifics supporting your crazy schemes.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

To my prevous point passionannex, touche'! Folks, you need to get in touch with the Kansas Corporation Commission and CURB and object.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

When personally attacked, I do sometimes respond in kind, Sigmund. But despite your assertions, I have provided very specific ideas-- ideas that would promote technologies that exist now and could help solve the very real problems you are so in denial about. Unlike you, I'm very optimistic about the ability of the average person to make the world a better place through their own intiative and action. We don't need to rely on "Big Brother" corporations like Westar to do that for us.

Maybe someday you'll grow a pair, too, Sigmund.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: Despite Sigmund's usual unsupported, ideologically biased assertions, one of the beauties of wind and solar power is that they in fact do lend themselves to economically viable distributed generation. Sure, companies like Westar would prefer to corner the market on all power generation in the regions it monopolizes- that's just the nature of monopolies- but that doesn't mean we have to concede to a centralized system that Stalinists like Sigmund demand..

While I think Westar should be allowed to move forward with these projects (after the rate increases are closely srutinized and right-sized to eliminate any price-gouging that is almost surely currently built in,) they should be accompanied by a new state law allowing net metering, meaning if you feed electricity onto the grid, your meter turns backwards at the same rate that Westar or other utility charges you. There should also be increased tax credits for installing small-scale wind and solar power generation, along with greately expanded programs to encourage private homes and businesses to increase their energy efficiency.


Bozo, just about everything you said is wrong. This is the dreaded utility mentality I mentioned. Tax credits, feeding (bad) electricity back into the grid, meters spinning backward, distributed generation....all this stuff would be done long ago if it were viable. You're wrong from an eonomic perspective and from a technology perspective.

Want to reduce energy costs? Set up programs to get everyone to install energy efficient lights and install a programable thermostat. That'll do a lot more than all the programs you mentioned and these can be economically analyzed and justified.

Kontum1972 7 years, 8 months ago

westar is doing us a big favor...wow! isnt there a charge for new energy research already included in our bills?

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

You see, Westar has not done the simple things well, plus they waste money in the Human Resources, which is a electric utilities biggest cost next to cost of power. Before Westar forages into the black hole of wind energy, there are a LOT of other things they need to do first.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

kneejerk--

Those who work with these technologies have demonstrated very well that distributed generation is very doable. It hasn't happened because the monopolies that now extort monthly payments from you and me don't want the competition. Go figure.

But I agree that increasing energy efficiency is equally important, and I said as much in a previous post in this very thread. But doing BOTH is essential if we are to get out of our current predicament (about which many of you are in such complete denial.)

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: kneejerk- Those who work with these technologies have demonstrated very well that distributed generation is very doable.


Let's first make sure we're on the same page. Distributed Generation is a power plant at a customer's premise, industrial, commercial or residential. These can be economically viable for a large, energy intensive operation, but it's tough to make the figures work. Forinstance, DG using natural gas was economically viable until natural gas inreased in price dramatically. Anyone who had installed a DG system 5 years ago would be in deep kimchee now and upside down in an investment that takes years to amortize on a good day.

Add to the aforementioned, which is enough by itself, that the quality of the power sold back to the utility grid is typically not good, and utliities pay accordingly,thereby putting a reasonable payback on DG into the netherlands.

The reasons why DG is not viable are as simple as that.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

....and, Distributed Generation works because the customer is on a particular rate schedule and the customer's overall demand is reduced. The utility can make DG obsolete simply by changing the way a customer's bill is calculated.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

It would be fun to win a consulting contract to straighten out Westar.

MyName 7 years, 8 months ago

kneejerkreaction:

Wind energy, if it were a viable, would already be a signifiant source of generation since the concept has been around for a long time. But it's not for a variety of reasons ranging from quality of eletricity generated and dumped into the grid to maintenance to the simple fact that the wind doesn't blow all the time, yet the units still require maintenance.

Wind energy is a good way to generate power. It has not been widely implemented because it is more expensive than a coal plant (for example), but it generates electricity as well as most any other source. The problems you mentioned are reasons why wind power can not be our sole source of electricity generation, but it can be a very good supplement. Moreover, unlike a larger power plant, it is relatively easy to add new capacity to a wind farm, which is a good thing as it can allow utilities to put off construction of larger electricity plants until they are absolutely needed.

Kansas is one of the best places to construct a wind farm and have it generate electricity in a cost effecient manner. I'm glad that Westar is deciding to make more use of this resource.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Myname, when I say that wind energy is not viable, I'm talking about the economics as well as the technology. Sure, you can generate electricity with wind, you can generate electricity with bovine flatulence.

You know why Westar wants ratepayers' money? Because they know that wind energy is a Don Quixote fix.

I'm saying if wind is truly what you claim, then let it stand on its own and don't use ratepayers' money for this venture.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

  1. you install an electricity-generating windmill
  2. you generate electricty
  3. you maintain the unit
  4. you generate electricty
  5. you maintain the unit
  6. (wind's not blowing)
  7. you don't generate electricty
  8. you maintain the unit
  9. still no electricty generated
  10. you maintain the unit ......and so on.....the cost only gets greater and greater and must require more and more government intervention in the form of tax breaks/incentives and rate increases to make it work.

What's so great about this? Pick a better renewable source Westar.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

....you do the hokey pokey and raise the rates again, that's what it's all about....

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Mongo, ahhhh....so we're in the land of "here we go again". I hope the KCC and CURB are smart enough to make Westar prove why they think it will work this time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Looks like a normal thread on the JW boards. Bald assertion based almost exclusivly on ideology.

Wind-generation technology is quite viable; otherwise, countries like Denmark and Germany wouldn't be generating substantial percentages (up to 20%) of their electricity with it right now. And believe it or not, the wind-generation technology of today is not the same as it was in 1970.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 8 months ago

Solar panels on your home: $25,000 Fluorescent light bulbs: $7 each Wester windmill plan: An extra $2.50 on your bill each month. Four water heaters for solar heated H2O: $2,000

The prospect of saving $4 on your monthly electric bill 20 years from now: Priceless

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Countries like Denmark and Germany have the #1 and #3 position in high electric prices in Europe. At that point, wind would be profitable. The US will have to almost double and triple their average cost of electricity to be comparable to Den. & Ger.

Want to pay .30 cents for each kilowatt hour of electricity you use? Pay $600 a month to air condition your home?

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Haiku_Cuckoo: funny! And very true. I agree with everything you wrote, but flourescent bulbs for the home have come way down. We outfitted our entire house for not very much and the savings is pretty substantial. If everyone would install flourescent bulbs in their homes, we'd be out of the woods and wouldn't have to waste time on foofoo falderah like wind energy.

As I said before, Westar has not begun to pick the low hanging energy saving fruit.

I have a huge issue with letting them launch the wind thing when they have not addressed other, more important and viable issues.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Haiku_Cuckoo (Anonymous) says: (you missed one) Solar panels on your home: $25,000 Fluorescent light bulbs: $7 each Wester windmill plan: An extra $2.50 on your bill each month. Four water heaters for solar heated H2O: $2,000 Dave Wittig Defense Fund: $7,000,000 and rising.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, as messed up as Westar might be, they're head and shoulders above the Green boys and Aquila in Kansas City. Those boys messed up a business that doesn't have competitors and has a guaranteed rate of return.

How'd ya do it Rick and Bob?

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

Westar should build those wind farms and DECOMISSION the old coal plant north of Lawrence. It is very old and polluting.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

snowWI (Anonymous) says: Westar should build those wind farms and decomission the old coal plant north of Lawrence. It is very old and polluting.


How much are you willing to pay for electricity? Would you like to pay $15 to pan fry a hamburger? $30 to dry a load of clothes? How does a $16 shower sound?

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Windlass, I hyperventilated and fainted halfway through reading your post, but I get it. Liken this to the grocery store. If you don't check your bill each time, you will get overcharged with the bar code readers they use now.

Electric utilities intentionally make their bills impossible for the average consumer to understand. You can't even read your own meter unless you've been trained. Yep, it's a racket, with very little accountability and oversight.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

Westar's plan was endorsed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and other key officials. "This commitment from Westar will help us secure a clean energy future in Kansas," Sebelius said.


And blah, blah, blah de dah. A company (Westar) with managers who are used to simply asking for more money as a way to get more, present their plan to a Governer and her mingons who are used to spending other people's hard earned tax money. And of course they gush over it because you can say things like "clean energy future in Kansas".

The reality (when wind programs go by the wayside after a huge cost that ratepayers will continue to pay long after the turbines have been decommissioned) is that you can keep your state as clean as you can and the wind will still blow in junk from other states.

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

How much are you willing to pay for electricity? Would you like to pay $15 to pan fry a hamburger? $30 to dry a load of clothes? How does a $16 shower sound?

The price of electricity in Kansas is artificially low because we have old polluting coal power plants in everyone's backyard. Their are plenty of coal power plants in eastern Kansas already. That gigantic Jaffrey Energy Center already provides most of the electricity needs for a good part of eastern Kansas. Westar should expand the number of wind farms, and decomission the Lawrence power plant because it is already over 50 years old. Even the proposed Holcomb plants are "cleaner" than the Lawrence plant.

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

"How much are you willing to pay for electricity? Would you like to pay $15 to pan fry a hamburger? $30 to dry a load of clothes? How does a $16 shower sound?" (Forgot to add quotes)

The price of electricity in Kansas is artificially low because we have old polluting coal power plants in everyone's backyard. Their are plenty of coal power plants in eastern Kansas already. That gigantic Jaffrey Energy Center already provides most of the electricity needs for a good part of eastern Kansas. Westar should expand the number of wind farms, and decomission the Lawrence power plant because it is already over 50 years old. Even the proposed Holcomb plants are "cleaner" than the Lawrence plant.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

The price of electricity in Kansas is artificially low because we have old polluting coal power plants in everyone's backyard


What does "artificially low" mean? I'd say good energy management decisions in the past would be another way to put it. Coal plants can be scrubbed enough to present a minimal amount of output. They aren't the horrible polluters everyone says. Most of what you see outside Lawrence is steam, not smoke.

Well, I guess we could be like California, put in a bunch of nukes, rise the price of electricity to the sky, scream for deregulation to introduce competition and lower prices (which doesn't work) and then watch your major electric providers go bankrupt.

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

"They aren't the horrible polluters everyone says. Most of what you see outside Lawrence is steam, not smoke"

BS. The coal plant in Lawrence is very old and is far dirtier than newer "cleaner" coal plants. The IGCC coal technology will easily turn the older coal plants into dinosaurs. In the mean time we need better implementation of energy efficiency programs, and even more wind energy development in Kansas. http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/powersystems/gasification/ The Jaffrey Energy Center east of Manhattan is one of the DIRTIEST coal plants in the entire country in terms of emissions. By the way, California does not have any coal plants in there state. They depend on natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar for most of there electricity needs. However, they to import some dirty coal generated electricity from Rocky Mountain states because the population is so large.

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

right_thinker, I do not understand why the NIMBY crowd is so prevalant against wind farms. As a country, we need to be less reliant on fossil fuels, and develop our renewable energy infrastructure. Wind farms are a good thing for the rural Great Plains, and a lot better than building more pulverized coal plants that use ancient outdated technologies. IGCC coal technology will turn most of the existing coal plants in Kansas into dinosaurs overnight if the technology is sucessful. It is quite a bit "cleaner" than the existing technologies we are using now.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 8 months ago

snowWI (Anonymous) says: BS. The coal plant in Lawrence is very old and is far dirtier than newer "cleaner"


Ok, SnowWI, I'll give you that. Found this: Westar Energy's two coal-fired power plants in northeast Kansas rank in the top 20 nationally in emission of the main greenhouse gas linked to global warming.

(That is, if you believe the global warming is anything but a natural cycle that has gone on for millenniums.) I still maintain that wind is a poor choice for renewable. I also maintain that any choice for renewable is a poor choice unless it can economically support itself, and wind cannot.

I'm not willing to give the bozos at Westar energy a check for $500 million because they want to dabble in wind. Until a better alternative comes along, we must use natural gas, combined cycle generation and don't exclude nuclear.

snowWI 7 years, 8 months ago

kneejerkreaction, Well, the NIMBY people do not want wind farms, or nuclear plants. Therefore, I guess western Kansas will have to be content with coal plants. I feel that the federal government should expand the existing transmission line infrastructure in the Great Plains so that if demand increases in a local area it would be easier to build more wind farms. This would be an excellent solution for local areas instead of building massive coal power plants that send electricity out very long distances such as the Front Range. The IGCC technologies promise to create "cleaner" plants, but no coal plant is ever going to be "clean."

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 8 months ago

That array of windmills would be impressive-not at all like that solitary unit in front of City Hall.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Agreed but I think I would the Wind Spire design, quiet and cheap.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 8 months ago

... but what about all the bird fallout...? Bird... fallout.

KsTwister 7 years, 8 months ago

Nice isn't it. And the Ohio WindSpire is cool too on a big scale (converts electricity to hydrogen even) and doubles the amount of electricity. Soon one for every house? Would be nice to say,"eat my dust to the utilities".

Bill Chapman 7 years, 8 months ago

I object to paying twice for my electric service. Once - Pay increased taxes for a local corporation to build the wind farms.

Twice - Pay for the electricity provided by the wind farms.

This is like paying to construct a gas station on the corner of your block, then having to pay for the gasoline without getting any profit from the investment of building the gas station. The only good thing I see here is the increasing use of renewable energy sources.

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