Policy Stability Drives Investment
Policy stability at the state and federal level is a critical element for all business and industry and the wind industry is no different. Kansas has created a very stable investment environment and the outcome has been positive for Kansas with more than $12 billion in private investment and thousands of new jobs across the state.
50% Wind Energy Goal
In June of 2016, then Governor Brownback called for an increase in the state’s voluntary RPS goal to 50% by the end of 2019 – an aggressive, but doable goal which will bring more than $4 billion in new investment to Kansas and create another 6,500 new jobs while attracting new corporate purchasers of a key Kansas commodity – our wind power. That goal was met when solar, landfill gas and hydropower are included in the energy portfolio mix. Kansas wind provides more than 41.4% of Kansas’ power needs by the end of 2019 and that number will continue to increase.
Federal Protection Tax Credit
In December 2015, Congress passed a tax reform package which extended a modified production tax credit (PTC) for five years. Along with the extension, came an annual 20% ratcheting down of the production-based credit with final phase out by 2020, making wind power the first energy source in the country to standalone without any incentive from the federal government. The PTC spurred hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment, helped drive more than 100,000 jobs in the American wind energy and revitalized American-based manufacturing of wind energy components creating a truly “Made-In-America” product. Learn more about the jobs associated with American wind power under the Jobs & Manufacturing section.
Kansas policymakers endorsed a voluntary renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2005 which was codified into state law in 2009 stating that 20% of the state’s energy mix would come from renewable energy by 2020. After confirming that the 20% by 2020 benchmark would be met five years ahead of schedule, lawmakers shifted back to a voluntary RPS in 2015. With a stable regulatory and policy environment, Kansas again is a leader in wind energy development, providing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in new investment across all parts of Kansas.
Benefits of Transmission Exceed Costs
- Transmission delivers value to American consumers by delivering clean energy, cutting costs on their electricity bills, and keeping their lights on
- Various studies have documented that transmission more than pays for itself in terms of savings for consumers, and relatively rapidly too.
- A study by SPP found its 2012-4 upgrades produced savings 3.5x the cost – nearly $12 billion in consumer benefits over 40 years, or $2,400 per customer
- Studies in ISO regions across the country have demonstrated that transmission upgrades more than pay for themselves by providing:
- Improved electric reliability
- Reduced electricity prices
- More competitive electricity markets
- Higher efficiency of electricity transmission
Transmission Build Out
Major transmission investments over the last decade have assisted the growth of wind energy in Kansas. Much of this investment has increased access to wind resources located in low-cost areas, enabling power to flow to cities and higher population areas. More work needs to be done however. The electric grid of tomorrow is similar to the interstate highway system of today. We need a robust network of local, regional and long-distance transmission lines to move all types of power more efficiently and affordably. Further, by building the long-distance transmission lines new areas can capitalize on their rich wind resources and send more power to market. A single dollar of transmission investment benefits the consumer and system multiple times over by access to a more reliable electric grid and more affordable and diverse power sources. Lawmakers and regulators at the state and national level need to work in concert with regional and national transmission planning organizations to foster development of transmission projects with proven reliability and cost benefits to consumers.