Renewable energy bill clears House committee

A bill aimed at helping Kansans install renewable energy and increase energy efficiency has been approved by a legislative committee.

House Bill 2663 would allow local governments to set up energy management districts to issue bonds that could be used by property owners for energy improvements.

The bonds would be paid off through assesments on the property owners’ property tax bill.

The goal of the bill is to reduce energy use and help offset the high up-front costs of improvements.

“At best, this legislation could potentially offer local governments a valuable financing option for citizens, businesses and community interests to pursue energy efficiency and renewables,” said Maril Hazlett, associate director of the Lawrence-based Climate and Energy Project.

“All the state has to do is authorize the model, then local governments and communities have the freedom to decide whether this opportunity suits their particular needs,” she said.

The measure was recommended for approval by the House Energy and Utilities Committee. More than 15 states have the so-called Property Assessed Clean Energy laws in place.