Wrong on wind energy

September 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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Published: 9/11/2013 5:55 PM | Last update: 9/11/2013 10:37 PM

Wrong on wind energy


Americans For Prosperity (AFP), founded with the support of Charles and David H. Koch, has a booth at the 2013 State Fair handing out disparaging and misleading economic information regarding the wind industry. Instead of making their case by utilizing actual utility cost data or independent sources, AFP relies on other think tanks with similar agendas that use conjecture and questionable methods to exaggerate wind energy costs.

If AFP would have chosen Westar for their information, Kansas’ largest provider of electricity, they could have found testimony submitted to the Kansas Legislature in 2012 indicating new wind energy costs are less than 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, and dropping. Westar also testified their next lowest cost of new generation is 6.8 cents from natural gas priced lower than today’s cost.

While AFP’s handout indicates that states like Kansas with renewable energy use requirements have 39 percent higher rates, Westar testified the requirement raised the average residential ratepayer bill by $1.15 per month or state wide by 1.7 percent according to the Kansas Corporation Commission, a far cry from AFP’s 39 percent.This current small rate increase is likely to become a future rate decrease as fully depreciated conventional plants are phased out, fuel prices rise and wind costs continue to drop.

While AFP asserts wind energy is “economically unsound” without “massive subsidies,” Lazard, a New York independent financial advisory firm, says otherwise. Lazard’s August 2013 report cites the unsubsidized cost of wind has dropped to a range from 4.5 to 9.5 cents. Reporting data similar to Westar’s, Lazard also cites natural gas as the next lowest cost of new generation of electricity ranging from 6.1 to 8.7 cents.

Kansas, just behind Texas, has the second best wind resource in the nation and is now marketing wind energy at a total cost at or near Lazard’s reported low of 4.5 cents to other states. This export market illustrates Kansas’s future economic opportunity to bring much needed income to rural communities and jobs to towns like Hutchinson.

It’s unfortunate there are political factions like AFP who are intent on undermining this growing economic opportunity for Kansas by spreading inaccurate and misleading wind energy cost information. Kansans should ignore AFP and join my fellow Republicans Gov. Brownback and Senators Roberts and Moran in getting behind this important new industry for our state. In addition, Kansans should inform Congressmen Huelskamp and Pompeo, who represent most of rural Kansas, to get on board and stop using AFP’s misinformation to campaign against wind energy – a vital source of income to many of their rural constituents.

MARK RICHARDSON

Hutchinson

Editorials represent the institutional opinion of The Hutchinson News. All other opinion content – individual local and syndicated columnists and letter writers to the “Western Front� – represents the viewpoints of the individual authors.

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