Letters to the Editor

Plant support

March 5, 2008


To the editor:

I would like to give some facts concerning Sunflower's Holcomb expansion project that have not yet been presented in this paper. Sunflower currently has 100 megawatts of wind as part of their energy portfolio, with another 24 megawatts contracted from the second phase of the Smoky Hills Wind project north of Ellsworth (which is scheduled to come on line late this year). When it comes on line they will have 10 percent of their generation capacity supplied by wind, which meets Gov. Sebelius' 10 percent by 2010 initiative. Sunflower has the largest percentage of wind generation in their energy portfolio of any utility in Kansas.

Sunflower is a nonprofit corporation because it is a cooperative. All profits are used to keep rates as low as possible for its members. Sunflower Electric, along with Midwest Energy, (another Kansas cooperative and partner in the project) has nearly 90,000 members in 42 central and western Kansas counties. The other states joining with Sunflower in the Holcomb expansion is an environmental benefit. Three locations would mean three smaller plants impacting air, etc.; with one large plant, they are building the most efficient plant in the state and keeping the lowest rates.

Sunflower Electric has taken great care to ensure that Holcomb Station, already the cleanest coal-based power plant in the state, will incorporate state-of-the-art green technologies. I urge you to read their environmental solutions at www.holcombstation.coop and discover their leadership in this technology.

Cynthia Williamson,

Baldwin City


Ragingbear 10 years, 3 months ago

They should cover the windmills with solar panels.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 3 months ago


The U.S. continues to subsidize coal power plants without regard to the total economic costs paid by taxpayers. Eliminating government support for coal power is a common sense idea that saves taxpayer money and makes the government more efficient.

Cutting the Clean Coal Technology Program, which has consistently failed in the past decade to produce any results, would save taxpayers at least $250 million per year. Reforming a tax loophole that allows individual owners to pay a lower rate on capital gains from coal royalties would generate an additional $15 million in revenue that could help balance the federal budget.

One especially wasteful tax credit that should be eliminated is the Non-Conventional Fuel Production Credit, commonly known as the "synfuel" credit. The program's intended purpose was to reduce dependence on oil, but it has instead become a farce. Superficial changes to coal, such as spraying on substances like diesel and starch, outrageously qualify them as "non-conventional," allowing coal companies to avoid paying $1.3 billion in taxes per year.

Coal Subsidies: $9,000,000,000(Billion) http://www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/electricity/energybill/2005/articles.cfm?ID=13980 =================================

Bill Griffith 10 years, 3 months ago

Sunflower should be applauded for having a very clean power plant now in use at Holcomb. They should also get a tip of the hat for thinking of using algae reactor technology to assist in mitigating CO2. There wind investment is a start, but I don't think much of the governor's 10 percent voluntary goal. However, they were not confident enough in the algae reactor technology to actually put it in the permit application because the technology has ran into some difficulty and is still unproven, especially in these climates. Also, note when someone says a plant will be "clean burning", they usually are adressing NOX, SOX, and mercury, ect.-not CO2. Bremby turned down this permit based on CO2 because of climate change science.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 3 months ago

"Cleaner and renewable wind energy will save Americans billions of dollars in the long run, through reduced health, pollution, and waste cleanup costs.

From AWEA:

The Myth of Wind Energy Government Subsidies

Every energy technology is supported by the federal government. Wind energy is no exception, nor should it be. During the year 2003 alone, federal energy subsidies ranged from $37 billion to $64 billion, according to a study prepared for the National Commission on Energy Policy. Wind energy accounted for less than 1% of that total.

U.S. subsidies for oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydro power totaled approximately $500 billion from 1950 to 1977. In the last century, this investment succeeded in creating an abundance of affordable domestic energy, powering strong economic growth. But it also contributed to a heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Today's rising energy demands-and volatile prices-reveal a need for a more diverse energy supply. The main incentive for wind, the production tax credit (PTC), is an effective policy to facilitate wind power development, as evidenced by today's growth in the use of wind power. Through the PTC, wind project owners receive tax credits only for energy produced; thus, they have an incentive to use better wind sites and better technology- harvesting the most energy possible from every wind turbine.

The only problem is, the PTC has expired and then been reinstated three times already and will expire again at the end of 2007 unless Congress renews it. The on-again, off-again status of the PTC has created a boom-and-bust cycle for the industry, creating a business climate of uncertainty for companies otherwise wanting to invest more in wind power. The PTC is a sound investment for our country.

Clean and renewable wind energy will save Americans billions of dollars in the long run, through reduced health, pollution, and waste cleanup costs." ==================================================== Big Government is Pushing for Big Coal Subsidies - Peabody Coal has hired former congressman Richard Gephardt http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/business/29coal.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 3 months ago

Sunflower needs these plants to bail themselves out because of losses while engaging in the same practices that took Enron down.

hipper_than_hip 10 years, 3 months ago

Algae reactors aren't even on the table for co2 reduction/sequestration; that's just a pr stunt.

Sooner or later, all power plants (coal, gas, & nuclear) in KS will need to be replaced. The best we can hope for is to reduce our need for electricity so that only some of the existing plants need to be replaced.

LogicMan 10 years, 3 months ago

"The best we can hope for is to reduce our need for electricity so that only some of the existing plants need to be replaced."

Yes, "demand-side" conservation is very important, and plants will need to be replaced. But that our demand will decrease is a poor assumption.

As natural gas and oil become scarce, electricity will be the likely choice for heating our buildings and powering our vehicles. Shifting recharging of cars to the nighttime will help, but overall bigger electricity plants will still be needed.

It's obvious to this reader that nuclear is the only option for the massive base load, with renewables and fossil fuels handling the rest.

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