Sustainable Energy and Jobs
Last updated: October 11, 2008
We deserve an energy plan that secures success not only for the next 10 years, but for the 100 that follow.
To accomplish this, Kansas needs a comprehensive energy plan that guides us from fossil fuels to renewable, safe, and economical sources. Developing renewable energy will strengthen the Kansas rural economy by allowing landowners to be energy independent, and it will create jobs here in Olathe as we become the hub for the manufacturing, design, and transportation jobs these renewable energy resources require.
My energy plan is not a mishmash of policies created for the next 10 years, rather it is a blueprint for short term success in job and energy creation while providing for tremendous long term growth in those same areas. Kansas can become a national leader in exporting its own tremendous energy resources without exporting any of the jobs that go along with them.
Kansas has an opportunity to benefit not only farmers in rural Kansas, but also young professionals in Johnson County with a Comprehensive Energy Policy. As farmers allow wind generators on their land and are paid a fair share for both the land and the energy rights, they will reap the benefits of what they sow into the earth. They will use a combine to harvest the crops that we use in a global economy alongside a Kansas Energy Grid to harvest the wind resources our state is positioned to produce.
Professionals in Johnson County have the ability through targeted tax incentives to produce not only wind energy generation solutions, but to embark on a quest to provide even more sustainable energy solutions in the near future. As they design these new energy solutions, manufacturers in Johnson County can produce these new technologies and transportation companies will capitalize on this emerging market to cleanly transport them a shorter distance to where the wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuel energy sources are.
We will create a renewable market that will never become tapped out because the energy is boundless as are more efficient means of generating that energy.
Sustainable Energy Production
Our geography provides us with a competitive advantage to produce new wind energy, and we must embark on a quest to harness this new energy source. To do so, we may follow the lead from Texas. Their state created a renewable energy portfolio mandate in 1999 to ensure that power companies were actively engaged in producing renewable energy in 10 years time. They set a goal of 2000 megawatts, achieved that goal in 2005, and upped the mandate again to ensure their economy did not become complacent. If we follow a similar mandate, the best workforce in the nation can steer us to achieving this goal.
As we continue to refine this technology, Kansas is in a wonderful position to capitalize on this newly available resource. Our beautiful rolling hills and scenic prairies provide a beautiful landscape on which to bring solar energy to the forefront. We can provide our rural citizens with one green incentive through net metering, allowing them to reap the profits of placing solar energy capture technology on land that lies fallow through net metering. We can also provide them the green incentive that this technology will power our entire state without impacting our farmland through the disastrous impacts of pollution.
Presently, coal-burning power plants are the least expensive way to produce power. They also produce more pollution and greenhouse gases (CO2) than other forms of energy production. The average coal plant today produces more than 2,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. I endorse a mandate that all sources in our responsible energy mix must meet a benchmark of 1,200 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. Coal can be a bridge to a brighter energy future, but the previous attempts to ram a coal fired plant through the legislature did not address the real problem: future energy production. If we are to use coal to help build the bridge, we must ensure strict standards on any new power plants so that they are not dinosaurs of energy production.
Kansans need to have their energy needs meet by production within our state. By creating a Kansas energy grid, we will not rely on out of state corporations or out of country sources to provide us the energy we use every day.
As we build an energy grid that allows these new renewable resources to flow throughout the state, we will create additional jobs that can put Kansas companies at the forefront of a national grid. As our rural friends begin to produce this energy, they should also see the rewards of the energy costs that we use in Eastern Kansas.
Net metering is where you can install your own energy producing equipment on your property and send that electricity back out onto the Kansas energy grid. It’s metered, which means that you could receive credit or money for producing power that others can use.
Kansas utility regulations are behind more than half of the other states in encouraging this form of electricity generation. There are currently no statewide uniform interconnection standards for these systems. (http://www.awea.org/smallwind/kansas.html)
A utility company may enforce any safety, equipment, or power quality requirements they deem appropriate, up to and including seperate meters and a manual external power disconnect. This allows the utility, if they choose, drag their feet and even refuse to connect with a customers electric wind turbine.
Without state net metering regulations, the electric utility is only required to purchase up to one and one half times the power the customer consumes from the electric utility and pay no more than the discount rate for that power.
In contrast, California allows net metering where one meter will spin backwards as well as forward and allows the homeowner to sell power to the electric utility for the same price they pay.