The Kansas Senate voted yesterday to repeal the state’s renewable power mandates. The 25-15 vote marks a turning point regarding renewable power mandates, as affordable energy proponents are now playing offense rather than defense in the state legislatures.
Thirty states have enacted renewable power mandates, with most mandates enacted between 2004 and 2008. Nevertheless, state legislators have found that forcing people to buy electricity from expensive renewable sources raises electricity prices and reduces living standards. Several states last year considered legislation to repeal their renewable power mandates. None of the repeal efforts succeeded, but a few came close. Additionally, state legislators put renewable power lobbyists on notice that the political landscape has changed dramatically in the past five years after the lobbyists successfully imposed renewable power market carve-outs in state after state.
The Kansas legislation now moves to the Kansas House of Representatives. Several legislators told Environment & Climate News they are confident they have the votes to pass the legislation in the House, as well.
Should the Kansas House pass the bill, this would mark the first time a state legislature passed legislation to repeal renewable power mandates. Legislators in Ohio, North Carolina, and several other states, however, are making progress toward similar repeals.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) strongly supports wind power, which is the primary beneficiary of Kansas’ renewable power mandates. Nevertheless, Brownback risks alienating his Republican Party base if he vetoes a repeal of the state’s renewable power mandates. Political analysts believe Brownback is a potential presidential candidate in 2016 or 2020. During the 2012 presidential primaries, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty failed to generate any political traction after his Republican colleagues hammered him for championing global warming legislation in his state.