Karin Brownlee: The RPS is not to blame

05/06/2014 12:00 AM

05/06/2014 6:10 AM

When a lie is often repeated, that does not make it true, but it does tend to influence those who hear it. Americans for Prosperity must be banking on this. The group has spread misinformation through mailers and radio and TV ads. Additional untruths were presented in a commentary by Jeff Glendening, state director of AFP (“Eliminate the RPS mandate,” May 1 Opinion).

AFP blames the renewable portfolio standard for causing electricity rate increases. According to the Kansas Corporation Commission, “renewable generation requires less than 2.2 percent of the revenue requirement of the utilities while renewable generation supplies about 15 percent of the peak demand in the state.” This can be found in the 2014 retail rate impact report at www.kcc.state.ks.us. The RPS is not to blame.

Here is what two Kansas electric companies have stated about the impact of wind energy on customers’ electric rates:

Matt Riley, CEO of Infinity Wind Power, told a House committee that Kansans are reaping rate impact benefits of an RPS by getting inexpensive power. In the case of Infinity’s power purchase agreement with Sunflower Electric Power Corp., he said, the price was so low that Sunflower determined that it would have a neutral or negative impact on customers’ rates. “Wind energy is produced for less than $0.03 per kilowatt-hour in today’s PPA environment, which is less than half of your retail rates,” Riley said.

Katie McDonald, communications director for Kansas City Power and Light, said that “we believe the total benefit for our customers over the next 20 years is that rates and costs will be about $1 billion lower than they would have been if we hadn’t been investing in wind and energy efficiency. The benefits would come from about $400 million from energy efficiency and about $600 million in savings due to wind power that reduces the need to use other kinds of fossil fuel.”

Despite AFP blanketing Kansans with hollow, untruthful arguments on the rising cost of electricity, our legislators wisely did not eliminate a policy that is producing billions of dollars in capital investment in our state and thousands of jobs (May 3 Local & State).

We need to stay the course on wind energy but hold the KCC and the Environmental Protection Agency accountable for the true reasons we are paying more for our power.

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