Wind coalition’s poll finds support for renewable energy mandate

Kansans – Republican and Democrat alike – overwhelmingly support renewable energy and the state’s law that mandates utilities to buy it, according to a poll released by wind energy proponents.

Some lawmakers and business groups have taken aim at the 2009 law that requires the state’s major utilities to have 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. They say the mandate has cost ratepayers significantly and skewed the marketplace for energy.

Supporters say the mandate was needed to guarantee a market for a developing industry that’s important in Kansas. The price of wind power has dropped dramatically in the last few years and is now competitive with fossil fuels, they say.

In the poll released Thursday by the Wind Coalition and the Kansas-based Climate and Energy Project, 91 percent of Kansas voters say they are strongly or somewhat supportive of using renewable energy, with the largest percentage supporting wind.

In a question aimed at the bill, according to the poll, 75 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans support the 2009 bill.

“Call me an eternal optimist, but I hope that we will have a debate this year based on facts from credible sources and based on what the people of Kansas want,” said Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition.

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