BY TIM CARPENTER
Gov. Mark Parkinson said Wednesday one of the most important bills before Congress was a measure requiring states to draw a portion of their electrical power from renewable sources of energy.
If adopted, the governor said, states with vast untapped renewable assets, such as Kansas’ wind resource, could be developed to fill the void for states without sufficient wind or solar sources.
He told hundreds of people attending the Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference in Topeka that each person at the meeting should lobby the six members of the Kansas congressional delegation to support creation of the national renewable energy standard.
Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, as well as Reps. Jerry Moran, Todd Tiahrt, Lynn Jenkins and Dennis Moore, need to place economic interests of the state ahead of other considerations and vote for a federal renewable energy standard that promotes Kansas economic development, the governor said.
“I’m asking you to contact these six people,” Parkinson said. “It’s not my style to call people out. It’s not my style to stand up here and tell you who has voted for and who hasn’t voted for an RES (renewable energy standard), but as I travel around the country I am consistently asked by people: ‘Why doesn’t your delegation support an RES?’ ”
Parkinson said it wasn’t enough for these federal politicians to merely support advancement of wind power.
“Please, do not assume that because your congressperson or senator comes before your group or your community and says they support wind power, that that means anything,” he said. “If they’re not voting for an RES, they’re not supporting wind power. That’s the bottom line.”
Parkinson said the federal production tax credit relied upon to support wind farm development should be continued indefinitely by Congress. One-year extensions were approved until a three-year version was included in recent federal economic stimulus legislation, he said. Uncertainty created by shorter extensions undermined investor confidence in the viability of wind projects, he said.
“Without the production tax credit, we’ve got a problem,” the governor said.
In addition, Parkinson said government and businesses interests must work together to resolve shortcomings of the electricity transmission system in the United States. In Kansas, a gap in the middle of the state inhibits transfer of power drawn from wind farms to urban centers in the East. Two projects in Kansas are moving ahead, the governor said, but they won’t be finished until 2015.
Tim Carpenter can be reached at (785) 296-3005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.