Testimony on HB 2631 by Bill Griffith February 4, 2002

Testimony on HB 2631
by Bill Griffith
February 4, 2002

HB 2631 would allow rural landowners to form cooperatives for the express purpose of marketing renewable energy from their land.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for the opportunity to speak on behalf of HB 2631. My name is Bill Griffith and I am representing the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club.

As the committee is well aware, wind energy is beginning its ascendacy into a prominent position in our nation’s resource mix. Not only is it the fastest growing energy source in the United States, but in the world as well. All projections indicate this will contiue at an accelerated rate.

Hopefully, this trend will be reflected in Kansas. We all have heard the reports that Kansas has now become a net importer of energy. This leaves us vulnerable to conditions outside our control. The only way to reverse this slide is to tap into our own vast wind potential and increase our energy efficiency.

HB 2631 creates an excellent opportunity for Kansans to harvest this resource for our own benefit. This will reduce our dependency on outside energy sources, stimulate local economies, reduce our emission of carbon dioxide, mercury, and other pollutants as well.

Rural landowners, often struggling because of a depressed farm economy would be able to reap the advantages of forming their own wind cooperatives and generating a consistent revenue stream from their land.

Another point for the committee to consider is what may occur at the federal level in upcoming energy legislation. Two bills from the U.S. Senate have provisions for a renewable portfolio standard to be implemented in the United States. Our president signed into law the largest renewable portfolio standard ever enacted in our country while he was governor. These factors seem to point to the likelihood of a federal rps at some point in the near future.

There is also a bill in the senate being marked-up this week that would establish limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Kansas is heavily invested in coal and could be affected more than most other states.

Also, since last September the decentralization of our power system has been pointed out as a critical area we must address. Wind power does that better than any fossil fuel we are currently using.
Given these factors, Kansas maybe called upon to increase its amount of renewable energy it generates. HB 2631 will make it easier to generate renewable energy and help Kansas meet any targets set in federal energy legislation.

In conclusion, the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club supports this bill and urges the committee to vote in favor of this legislation. Thank you.

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