January MPower Newsletter from CEP: 2015 Legislative Update

2 years ago | Jan 20, 2015
Share us:
MPower

January 2015 Newsletter



2015 Legislative Session   

35 Senate Bills and 52 House Bills were introduced during the first week of the 2015 legislative session.

 

Not surprising, the state's budget crisis (more than $700 million shortfall in the next two years) will dominate the 90-day legislative session. On Friday, Governor Brownback's two-year budget was revealed, calling for tax increases on cigarettes ($2.29 a pack), tobacco (15%), and liquor (12%). The budget proposes substantial fund transfers as well changes to the school finance formula over the next two years.

 

Representative Tom Sloan introduced the first renewable energy bills of 2015 - HB 2036 and HB 2037 designed to pave the way for public buildings to utilize more renewable energy while also making it easier for large corporations to have greater choice in their options to procure renewable energy more cost effectively.

 

Repealing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) remains at the top of the  priority list for some legislators and organizations despite minimal price impacts for consumers. The RPS continues to be a wildly popular policy with Kansans, more than two-thirds of likely voters saying they support the law to get 15% renewable generation by 2016 and 20% after 2020. The tax exemption for renewable energy will also be examined this year.

 

The RPS is an important and cost effective tool to meet our state emission reduction targets to reduce carbon pollution at existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan, which could also be under attack this year.

 

From CEP board member, Kimberly Svaty, Gencur Svaty Public Affairs:

Also on the table for consideration this session, is retail wheeling also known as "customer choice" or "electric deregulation". While most Kansas electric customers are unaware, in early March, the Southwest Power Pool, which regulates the transmission system for an expanding 9-state region, began the Day 2 market. For the first time in the history of industry in Kansas, electric utilities do not officially operate their power plants, but rather buy electricity on the SPP market. This is a fundamental shift in electric utility operations. Couple that with the potential impact of the Clean Power Plan and other recent EPA mandates on traditional electric generation units, and the Kansas electric user has seen a complete change in how their power is generated and transmitted. Retail wheeling would only further compound the changes and while a cost-savings is assumed in a deregulated market, it is not guaranteed. Look no further than the broadband or cable TV market - highly competitive, not deregulated, but constant price increases for essentially the same service.

 

Water issues continue to be a priority and implementation of the Governor's 50-year Water Plan is a topic we'll be following closely. The states budget deficit will make movement toward implementation difficult.

 

To keep up to date on water and energy issues this session, watch our Facebook, Twitter and email blasts from Climate + Energy Project, Wind Works for Kansas and Kansans for Clean Energy. 

 

From the Executive Director
Normally we end a year with thank you and then share our plans for the upcoming year. We're mixing it up a bit and saying thank you to our individual and corporate sponsors (you know who you are) for stepping up and helping us to fill a budget shortfall at the end of 2014. We sincerely appreciate your support.

 

Check out our 2015 Legislative Preview (above) for our insight into this year's Kansas legislative session. While, it's started out quiet, we don't expect it to stay that way for long.

 

There have been many changes to the House Energy & Environment and Utilities & Telecommunication Committees as well as a change in leadership to Senate Utilities. Our CEP Interns will help us track water and energy legislation in these important committees along with Senate and House Agriculture and Natural Resources.

 

Please watch for our Legislative Alerts throughout the session to keep informed on upcoming water and energy legislation. Happy New Year!

 

WEP Update

Changing to a Conservation Mindset: John Bradley

John Bradley Securing Water for the Future
Watch all the great videos on the CEP Vimeo page!  https://vimeo.com/climateandenergy

John Bradley's ranch in Douglas County prioritizes water quality, time management, and animal health. A veterinarian by trade, the system revolves around one day off per week with one person's labor. Beginning with a focus on water quality, Bradley installed feeding pads and watering sites that preserved the streams and ponds on the 300 acres of cool season grass in northeast Kansas. 

 


 

Stockpiling grass for winter grazing, utilizing solar chargers for fencing, and frost-proof watering tanks reduce the amount of energy required to run the cattle operation. Bradley says,

John Bradley, Building a Grazing System Where You Are with the Resources You Have
I can lower my inputs, lower my energy costs, lower my capital expenditures for hay, lower my health costs and still maintain a healthy herd because we're designing it for where we live and what resources we have.  I think water will be the rate limiting resource for us. For us, water storage in the form of ponds and giving clean water access below the pond in a water tank, is our solution. I think climate change is real. We can quibble about why we have climate change, but I think we are living that right now. I think water is going to be extremely important.

 
>>Read all about John Bradley's innovative practices on the Water + Energy Progress Website!


 

Condensing Milk, Conserving Water and Energy: McCarty Dairy

Look forward to something altogether different for next month's Water + Energy Progress feature!  The McCarty family runs a large scale dairy operation over three locations in western Kansas.  The family prioritizes sustainability in their operations, reusing water, reducing water consumption and making efficiency upgrades to lighting and equipment.  The McCarty Dairy at Rexford, KS, produces approximately 640,000 lbs of raw milk a day.  Using an evaporative condensing milk processing plant,, the McCarty's reclaim and reuse 40-45,000 gallons of fresh water every day.  The process also saves on energy.  Reclaiming the water and condensing the milk reduces the number of trucks on the road resulting in a freight reduction of approximately 75%.  


The McCarty's are currently the only on farm using a three stage falling film evaporator in the country.  However, Ken McCarty feels that the process is "Absolutely replicable." He is personally convinced that this technology is the future of the dairy industry.  He explains,  

Dairies will be pushed farther from population centers, as such, it will be important to maintain the portability of that product.  We need to create ways to find efficiency and freight reduction is a phenomenal way to create those efficiencies.

Check it out in February!

Upcoming Events
No-Till On the Plains 2015 Winter Conference & AIM Symposium, January 27-28, 2015, Bicentennial Center, Salina, KS

"Unlocking the Potential on Your Farm" - No-till on the Plains is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization whose mission is to provide education and networking on agricultural production systems that model nature.  The Winter Conference is an excellent educational and networking opportunity. Keynote speakers include Dr. Fred Provenza and Joshua Dukart.  www.notill.org 


From the Land of Kansas: Connect + Grow + Succeed, February 26 - 27, 2015, Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan, KS

The 2015 From the Land of Kansas Annual Conference will include the annual meeting for members and partners, trade show and farmers market annual meeting. If you have questions, please contact trademark director, Stacy Mayo, 785-207-3958. Registration page is available, and includes more details about cost, hotel rooms, etc.

In The Blog
Over it? Try again in 2015!
Do your eyes glaze over when you hear "Legislative Session"? Read this blog to get inspired and involved.  

Another Year of Soil Health
How fitting that Water and Energy Progress enters another year of aiding soil health just as the international community begins a newfound focus on the same related issues.

Heartland Voices: renewables, energy bills, and the future of clean energy!
Darrell Hart is one of CEP's most dedicated volunteers. His blog post for Heartland Voices offers a fresh perspective on our work, energy bills, and the future of clean energy. Enjoy! 
Published December 30, 2014                                               >>Read Blog 

Critical Times
Each year, your inbox is filled with requests from great organizations looking for your support. We all have causes that are near to our hearts and I know it can be difficult to choose which ones deserve to receive your limited charitable dollars.
Energy Updates
About Climate + Energy Project
Practical solutions for a clean energy future.

     

The Climate + Energy Project (CEP) is a non-partisan 501c(3) organization working to reduce emissions through greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. Located in America's Heartland, CEP collaborates with diverse partners across the nation to find practical solutions for a clean energy future that provides jobs, prosperity and energy security.

For more information please contact Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director of the Climate + Energy Project, by calling (785) 424-0444 or emailing  
barnett@climateandenergy.org.
In This Issue
2015 Legislative Update
From the ED
WEP Update
Upcoming Events: Legislative Panel, No-Till, and more!
In The Blog
Energy Updates
Thank you for your support

 We want to acknowledge our individual and corporate sponsors that donate to CEP in 2014! We appreciate all of your help continuing CEP's work through 2015!
  

Our Projects


 
Kansans for Clean Energy