Comment history

Kansas Senate committee votes to repeal renewable energy standards

New poll data shows 89% Kansans supports

renewable energy law

The Wind Coalition and the Climate and Energy Project released new poll data showing that Kansans overwhelmingly support the development of renewable energy resources in Kansas and the state’s 2009 renewable energy law.

The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, shows that Kansans support increasing renewable energy development and that the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard enacted in 2009 enjoys near unanimous support statewide.

“Kansas has been a significant beneficiary of renewable energy investment with nearly $8 billion of dollars in new investment and more than 12,000 new jobs in a decade. This poll underscores the sentiment developers see in the field – Kansans want to develop renewable energy and more of it,” said Jeff Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition.

The poll found that 91% of Kansas voters are strongly supportive of using renewable energy. The poll indicates that renewable energy is just as popular as it was in 2009 when Kansas first pursued renewable energy legislation. Last year, efforts to roll back the state’s renewable energy law failed in the legislature.

March 21, 2014 at 8:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas Senate committee votes to repeal renewable energy standards

Wind grows as power source in Kansas

After installing the second most new wind capacity in the United States in 2013, following on the third most in 2012, Kansas has blown past a number of states in its percentage of electricity generated from wind.

Based on its potential, however, the state has a long way to go.

Wind generation record

According to the latest data from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, Kansas utilities received 19.4 percent of their total electrical generation from wind power in 2013.

That ranked Kansas third nationally, behind only Iowa and South Dakota, which had 27 and 26 percent, respectively. The state’s goal was 20 percent by 2020.

Other states with at least 15 percent of their generation from wind included Idaho, North Dakota and Minnesota. In all, at least 20 states had some generation from wind, with 17 matching or beating the new national average of 4 percent.

“Wind energy continues to make inroads as a major contributor to the U.S. power mix,” Elizabeth Salerno, vice president of Industry Data and Analysis for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), stated in a news release. “The electricity generated by American wind power has more than tripled since 2008, not only due to significant growth in new wind projects but also technology innovation leading to more productive wind turbines.”

March 21, 2014 at 8:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas Senate committee votes to repeal renewable energy standards

Kansas ALEC-Affiliated Legislator Leads Charge to Repeal

Renewable Energy Standard

Here in the Midwest we are seeing the perennial first signs of Spring: a few early buds are appearing on the magnolia trees, rivers and lakes are starting to thaw, and of course, ALEC and the Koch brothers are pushing yet another pointless and harmful attack on Kansas’s wildly successful Renewable Energy Standard.

This year’s bill, Senate Bill 433, is sponsored by the Kansas Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, which is chaired by Ty Masterson, a known ALEC member and supporter of last year’s failed attack on renewable energy policy in Kansas.

It is difficult to understand why these attacks on job-creating, investment-spurring, clean energy policies continue to pop up every spring like weeds in a (solar) garden. After all, the policy has helped to spur over $7 billion in new investment in the state and create 13,000 jobs in an otherwise struggling economy.

So it is no wonder that 91 percent of Kansans support doing more with clean energy and more than two-thirds would support increasing the Renewable Energy Standard from its current goal of 20 percent renewables to 25 percent by 2020.

Kansas is a major renewables powerhouse—literally. It has the second best wind resource in the country with the technical potential to supply enough electricity to supply all of the state’s energy more than 90 times over. The state already produces enough electricity from wind to power more than 840,000 American households, and Kansas is just beginning to scratch the surface of what can be done with solar power. That means Kansas wind provides more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the combined populations of Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka, Omaha, Nebraska and Tulsa, OK and still have enough left over for Minneapolis!

All of that wind power in Kansas and elsewhere, along with energy efficiency, helped keep the lights on and prevented even higher price spikes for electricity and natural gas during the harsh winter this year. It has also provided a vital new source of income to Kansas farmers, in the form of nearly $16 million in royalty payments.

With all of the benefits renewable energy has already brought to Kansas, and with even more to come as solar and efficiency scale up to match the contribution wind is already making, Spring is definitely in the air in Kansas—as long as short sighted bills that only a big polluter could love don’t put a big chill on it.

March 21, 2014 at 8:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Voting rights

If republican ideas are so wonderful for Kansans, why do they make it so hard to vote?

March 10, 2014 at 8:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas gay marriage debate pushed to next year

Robert Noland

There are two reasons you hate gay marriage

1. you're dumb

2. or you're secretly worried that

March 7, 2014 at 7:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback getting national media buzz

Brownback Reiterates Faulty Claim to Justify Radical Tax Cuts

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said recently that his radical 2012 income tax cuts — among the largest that any state has ever enacted — generated over 15,000 small businesses in Kansas. He’s made this claim before, such as to the New York Times last month. It’s one of his top arguments that the tax cuts have worked.

But it’s misleading, at best.

First, while more than 15,000 new businesses were incorporated in Kansas in 2013, more than 16,000 other businesses were either dissolved by their owners or forfeited for failure to file an annual report and pay the annual fee. Even adding in the 4,500 businesses that owners reinstated that year (by filing annual reports after letting their status lapse), the net growth in registered businesses was about 3,600 — smaller than in 2012, the year before the tax cuts took effect.

More importantly, proponents of the tax cuts said their goal was to create real jobs. But, private sector job growth in Kansas since the tax cuts took effect ranks among the lowest of any state — 46th fastest as of the latest data.

Meanwhile, the tax cuts have led to a big drop in revenue for the state, deep cuts in services, and an overall weakening of the state’s economic prospects.

March 5, 2014 at 7:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback getting national media buzz

Kansans' Check Your Voter Reg status to ensure they are not on Kobach’s suspended list … …

March 5, 2014 at 7:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback getting national media buzz

More Evidence That You Can’t Lure Entrepreneurs With Tax Cuts

Cutting state taxes to attract entrepreneurs is likely futile at best and self-defeating at worst, a new survey of founders of some of the country’s fastest-growing companies suggests. The study, which is consistent with other research, should be required reading for state policymakers — especially those in Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin who are pushing for large income tax cuts.

The 150 executives surveyed by Endeavor Insight, a research firm that examines how entrepreneurs contribute to job creation and long-term economic growth, said a skilled workforce and high quality of life were the main reasons why they founded their companies where they did; taxes weren’t a significant factor. This suggests that states that cut taxes and then address the revenue loss by letting their schools, parks, roads, and public safety deteriorate will become less attractive to the kinds of people who found high-growth companies. (Hat tip to urbanologist Richard Florida for calling attention to the study.)

As I wrote last year on why studies show state income tax cuts aren’t an effective way to boost small-business job creation, “Nascent entrepreneurs are not particularly mobile. Rather, they tend to create their businesses where they are, where they are familiar with local market conditions and have ties to local sources of finance, key employees, and other essential business inputs.”

I also argued that state tax cuts could be counterproductive, impairing states’ ability to provide high-quality services that make a state a place where highly skilled people want to live.

March 5, 2014 at 7:01 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Obama budget has $300M for Kansas NBAF project

National Bio and Agro Defense Facility tornado protection still an issue

The tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. would almost certainly have destroyed the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility in Manhattan, Ks. had it struck there, studies show, potentially releasing dangerous toxins, including a foot-and-mouth disease virus, into the atmosphere.

A study released in October 2010 concluded “the containment and structural features of the NBAF may fail in an F2 or more intense tornado event.”

The Joplin tornado is widely believed to have been an F4 or F5 event.

The study — called a site-specific risk analysis — recommended “hardening” the $650 million facility to withstand an F2 tornado, at a cost of roughly $60 million. It also suggested studying the cost of hardening the facility to withstand an F3 event, defined as winds reaching 206 mph.

Other studies suggest the Department of Homeland Security will redesign the structure to at least meet the F2 standard, which would still be far short of the devastating Joplin storm.

The study said the chance of a damaging tornado at NBAF — and a subsequent release of foot-and-mouth disease — is exceedingly small. It predicts an F2 or greater tornado would hit the facility and cause a pathogen release, on average, every 770 years.

But the consequences would be devastating. A tornado-related release of foot-and-mouth disease virus would cost $5 billion, studies estimate.

Critics of the NBAF facility have worried about the tornado danger for some time.

John Kerr, chairman of a Texas consortium that sought the facility, told the AP two years ago that locating NBAF in Manhattan would be “grossly irresponsible, the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature.”

In its final environmental impact statement, the Department of Homeland Security said the NBAF building will withstand an F3 tornado, but made no claims about anything stronger.

Other studies, though, show the building as now designed would struggle against an F2:

The SSRA assessment of the current NBAF design (90 mph design load with 1.15 Importance Factor and 1.6 Factor of Safety) indicated that an F2 or greater intensity tornado may cause a loss of biocontainment. DHS has specified that the NBAF should be able to maintain containment if struck by an F2 or lesser intensity tornado, and planning efforts are underway to modify the schematic design to be consistent with this requirement.

March 5, 2014 at 6:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Obama budget has $300M for Kansas NBAF project

No NBAF in Kansas
Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

Risk Assessment for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas

March 5, 2014 at 6:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )