Wind Industry Achieves Legislative Stability with Renewable Energy Compromise Bill

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Substitute for Senate Bill 91 into law on Thursday, May 28, 2015.  This bill represents a compromise between the wind industry and organizations which were opposed to the Renewable Portfolio Standard and which were supporting increased taxes on the industry.

The bill is prospective in nature.

Wind farms which are contracted for after December 31, 2016, will receive a 10-year property tax exemption.  This is in line with the property tax exemption received by the oil and gas industry.

Wind farms which are currently operating, or which have filed an application for exemption or have received a conditional use permit to produce and generate electricity on the property from the county in which the property is located before December 31, 2016, will continue to have a property tax exemption for the “life of the project.”

As wind farms come onto the property tax rolls, they will be taxed at the commercial property rate of 25%.  Currently, they would be taxed at the public utility rate of 33%.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandate will become a voluntary goal after December 31, 2015.

Virtually all electric utilities in Kansas have met the 20% standard today reaching that mark five years early.

This legislation brings stability and predictability for future wind energy development in Kansas.

In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of Americans for Prosperity, The Kansas Chamber and The Wind Coalition saying that the groups “will join in opposing efforts before the Kansas Legislature to impose an excise tax on renewable energy generation and other changes in state tax law that are discriminatory toward renewable energy when compared and contrasted with taxation of non-renewable energy generators.” In fact there is legislation which is still alive which would assess a 4.33% excise tax on wind energy generation.  So, this agreement is especially significant in light of that proposal and because of the ongoing stalemate over school funding.

Passage of KS SB 91

The people in the picture which was sent previously are (L to R):  House Energy & Environment Committee Chairman Rep. Dennis Hedke, Senate Utilities Chairman Senator Rob Olson, Kansas Chamber President Mike O’Neal, Americans for Prosperity State Director Jeff Glendening, Kimberly Svaty, The Wind Coalition, Karin Brownlee and Mike Murray, NextEra Energy Resources lobbyists. Governor Sam Brownback, seated.