To the editor:
The Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are under attack. The arguments advanced to repeal these standards, which require major utility companies to have the capacity to produce up to 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, are pitifully weak.
First, it is argued that renewable energy has caused a 22 percent increase in electric rates. It is true that electric rates have increased steadily over the years, but a Kansas Corporation Commission report attributes less than 2 percent of rate increases to the RPS. If consumers think that repeal of the RPS will cause their electric rates to decrease or remain constant, they must be inhaling too much of that Colorado air.
The second argument for repeal is that the standards require the government to pick winning and losing industries. Since the standards do not specify what type of renewable energy the utilities must choose, if the standards are repealed, the government will in effect choose fossil fuel sources for Kansas-produced electricity, a proven loser.
The true costs of burning fossil fuel is not reflected in the costs of the electricity produced. The costs of air and water pollution, heavy metal contamination, mountain top removal and giant open pit mining, global warming and associated storm and drought conditions and sea level rises, are not borne by utility ratepayers, but by society at large. If these external costs of fossil fuel electricity production were added into the rates consumers pay, it would be apparent to all that renewable energy is a true winner compared to fossil fuel.