Legislative Update: Turnaround Nears

10 months ago | Feb 20, 2018
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Statehouse Efforts Continue on Clean Energy Bills

Two clean energy bills remain in the works as the Kansas Legislature moves toward turnaround on Thursday, when most bills need to be passed out of their house of origin.

The Climate + Energy Project and other clean energy supporters continue to seek compromise on Senate Bill 347, which would require the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to utilize the National Standard Practice Manual to determine the appropriate tests to evaluate the cost effectiveness of energy efficiency programs. The bill would also require the KCC to report its progress to the Kansas Legislature next January.


Earlier this month investor-owned utilities along with the KCC testified in opposition of SB 347 at a Senate Utilities Committee hearing. While they all said energy efficiency was good, they told legislators that utilities should not be forced to meet certain targets and ultimately the KCC is the appropriate place to determine if programs are cost effective. We agree, which is why we’re advocating for a transparent and stakeholder-driven process to discover how to lower customer bills with energy efficiency programs.

 

CEP and other stakeholders continue to work toward solutions that encourage energy efficiency programs for consumers in Kansas, which ranks 48th for energy efficiency. These programs also align with the Kansas Energy Efficiency and Investment Act, which the Legislature passed in 2014.

Read more about SB 347 and similar efforts in other states in this article from the Energy News Network.
Clean energy advocates also are working to advance Senate Bill 322, which would revert state law to 2009 regulations that protect Kansas residential distributed generation (DG) from demand charges. This would apply only to investor-owned utilities' residential solar customers.

In related news, Westar on February 1 filed a rate case with the KCC to add demand charges to residential solar customers with systems installed after October 2015 and raise the service charge by $4 per month for every residential customer. Read more about the Westar rate case in this article from KMUW.
Updates From The Kansas Rural Center
The Climate + Energy Project is a sponsor of the weekly Policy Watch, produced by the Kansas Rural Center. Issues highlighted in the recent Policy Watch include:
Poultry regulations: A vote by the full Kansas Senate is expected Tuesday or Wednesday on Senate Bill 405, which would allow more chickens at a single location. It is a first step in allowing large poultry operations with multiple barns at a single location to support a poultry processing plant in Kansas.
By changing Kansas Department of Health and Environment regulations, SB 405 would allow contract chickens producers to load as many as 330,000 chickens in barns as close as 1/4 mile from a residence or other community buildings, such as churches, schools, and medical facilities. As many as 99,000 chickens could be placed just 100 feet from a neighbor's property line.
Pesticides and Noxious Weeds: The Kansas Rural Center teamed with Zack Pistora of Sierra Club of Kansas to produce a white paper, "Pesticides, Noxious Weed Control and Chemical Drift Protection In Kansas." The paper provides an overview of current pesticide and noxious weed law in Kansas plus background on pesticide use, trends, and emerging problems. The paper also includes recommendations for the state's noxious weed law and calls for improvements in state general pesticide law.
Read more in the latest Policy Watch from the Kansas Rural Center online.
Kansas WEALTH Policy, Civic Engagement, and You!
Watch live on the Climate + Energy Project's Facebook page as guests from Kansas organizations discuss Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation, and Health (WEALTH) issues - and how you can share your thoughts with policymakers!
This week's Facebook live event - postponed to 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 21 - features Jessica Lucas of the Clean Energy Business Council. Click here for a complete schedule and more information.
And mark your calendar for WEALTH Day on March 15 at the Kansas Capitol when you can learn more about and advocate for WEALTH issues. RSVP now!