Topeka A House committee endorsed a bill Thursday that ties two proposed coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas to proposals for promoting wind and other renewable energy sources.
Supporters used the same strategy last year in an effort to clear the way for the coal plants despite Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ opposition. Like three bills Sebelius vetoed last year, the latest measure would overturn the denial of an air-quality permit for Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build the plants outside Holcomb, in Finney County.
The Energy and Utilities Committee’s 11-9 vote sent the bill to the House, where a debate is expected next week.
The bill also would limit the secretary of health and environment’s power to regulate greenhouse gases that many scientists link to global warming. When he denied Sunflower’s permit in October 2007, Secretary Rod Bremby cited their potential carbon dioxide emissions.
But the measure contains provisions to set tougher energy efficiency standards for state buildings, require some utilities to generate some of their power from wind farms and other renewable sources and encourage home and business owners to generate their own wind and solar power. The bill also promotes the construction of new transmission lines, partly to move electricity from wind farms.