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Proposed legislation lets utilities buy out-of-state renewable energy credits


Legislatures in states including Kansas could soon find themselves considering legislation allowing utilities to satisfy renewable energy standards by purchasing credits from out-of-state, rather than generating or buying the power in-state.Such a bill would change renewable energy standards to let Kansas utilities buy energy credits from hydroelectric plants in western states, rather than investing the money into Kansas-based wind energy, the Wichita Eagle reports.

The proposal comes from documents outlining a "model bill" being proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a pro-business political group where business interests and supportive lawmakers gather to produce model legislation to bring back to state legislatures.

Opponents say rural Kansas could lose economic and environmental benefits brought by companies that invest in building or operating wind farms within the state.

ALEC is the organization which last year made attempts to get states to repeal clean energy standards.  The group has previously drafted legislation which has made it into Kansas law.

Currently, Kansas renewable energy standards require power companies to get 10 percent of their power from renewable sources within the state by 2010, and 20 percent by 2020.  Under the proposal, utilities could instead buy credits from existing generators in other states rather than producing or purchasing the power in Kansas.