At its meeting on August 30, 2006, the Kansas Energy Council approved the following draft policy recommendations for release to the public for review and comment.
Goal: Facilitate cost-effective energy conservation in the public, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors through a collaborative program between the state, municipalities, utilities, and their customers.
Summary: Many Kansas structures are deficient in cost-effective energy conservation measures (e.g., attic and wall insulation, efficient HVAC systems), resulting in excessive energy use and, consequently, excessive utility bills year round. Cost-effective energy conservation measures can reduce energy usage, thereby reducing energy-related emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases and providing ratepayers with lower monthly utility bills.
The proposed draft plan for a statewide energy conservation program consists of two essential elements: (1) a standardized, utility-sponsored energy conservation audit and (2) a streamlined process to facilitate both the financing and installation of cost-effective energy conservation measures.
Additional components of the draft program include:
- encouraging municipalities with existing building codes to adopt ordinances that require new and existing residences to meet State minimum energy efficiency standards before a residence can be occupied;
- encourage the Kansas Corporation Commission to open a generic docket to examine the relationship between rate design and the resultant incentives for ratepayers to conserve energy and utilities to provide energy conservation programs; and
- encourage the Legislature to amend the current laws regarding the disclosure of energy efficiency information in new residential structures so that the information is provided in a timely and more useful manner.
Goal: To increase opportunities to generate wind-based electricity through both Community Wind projects owned by Kansas investors and an additional large-scale wind farm.
Summary: Kansas has very substantial wind energy resources and, by the end of 2006, will have nearly 200 MW of utility-scale wind capacity in place. Despite continued interest in both utility-scale wind farms and smaller-scale Community Wind development, additional investment in wind generation has been constrained, in large part, by lower costs associated with conventional generation (e.g., coal-fired power plants). Even with various federal and state incentives and subsidies, wind is likely to cost ratepayers more than conventional generation. However, inasmuch as wind-based generation offsets conventional generation, wind-powered generation reduces power plant emissions and therefore could reduce the possible damages and costs resulting from those emissions. The possible reduction in external, pollution-related costs attributable to wind-based generation may tip the economics in favor of wind.
The proposed draft plan for wind energy development would grant the Kansas Corporation Commission the authority to consider possible external costs and benefits, in addition to the known and measurable costs, when evaluating wind-based purchase power agreements submitted for approval by the jurisdictional utilities. This policy would apply to a total of 200 MW of new contracted wind capacity, with up to 100 MW dedicated to contracts with Community Wind developers.
Goal: To increase opportunities to generate electricity through "clean coal" technologies—integrated gasification combined cycle IGCC coal power plants, in association with carbon dioxide capture and storage capabilities.
Summary: Coal is plentiful and inexpensive, and its use for electrical generation is growing the U.S. and elsewhere. This new coal-fired generation could collectively release an enormous amount of carbon dioxide as well as other pollutants into the atmosphere. Implementation of “clean coal” technology—IGCC and carbon capture and storage—not just in Kansas, but worldwide, is a vital component of any strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The expected increased reliance on coal for electrical generation has implications beyond carbon emissions and climate change. Despite coal’s low market price, the true costs of its extraction, processing, and consumption are high. Among these costs, “clean coal” technology would reduce air pollution and the associated health-related costs.
The proposed draft plan for development of electrical generation from "clean coal" would grant the Kansas Corporation Commission the authority to consider possible external costs and benefits, in addition to the known and measurable costs, when evaluating purchase power agreements for “clean coal” projects submitted by jurisdictional utilities for approval.