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Rachel Myslivy

What does it look like when we win?

4 years ago | Jan 05, 2016
By: Rachel Myslivy, Program Director

Each year brings new challenges and opportunities for CEP.  With the 2016 legislative session starting in just one week, we are gearing up for whatever that might bring.  After so many years rallying Kansans around the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), it’s hard to think of the session without it.  


The 2015 legislative session was tense, fierce, and frustrating.  For the fourth year in a row, American's for Prosperity, the Kansas Chamber, and Koch Industries promoted an anti-clean energy agenda at the Kansas Statehouse while advocates (like CEP) and Kansans (like you) loudly proclaimed the benefits of renewable energy and the need for clean energy in Kansas.  


After the longest legislative session in Kansas history, the highly successful RPS changed from a requirement to a goal.  Even though thousands of Kansans expressed support of the RPS through postcards and in-person pleas and testimonies, the legislature opted to adopt a goal with a target that was already met.  I’d be lying if I said we weren’t disappointed.

annie kuether RPS.png

 

Of course, we wish that the legislators would have increased the RPS to continue encouraging renewable energy in Kansas.  However, the main takeaway is that despite intense, well-funded pressure against renewable energy, Kansas met the RPS standards of 20% renewables by 2020 five years early.  


That’s what a win looks like.  A win in Kansas is not always going to rush advocates out dancing in the streets.  Wins in Kansas - in a democracy, really - are all about compromise and working within the system.  This year’s RPS is the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  All states must comply with the new federal regulations for reduced CO2 pollution.  How we will meet those regulations is entirely up to each state.  Kansas is particularly well-suited to develop both both renewables (wind and solar) and energy efficiency.  While many states, ours included, are gearing up for legal challenges to the CPP, all signs point to the regulations standing firm.


Clean energy is the way of the future.  Kansas can resist that new energy reality, or we can realize our potential, increase renewables, and lead the way to the cleaner, brighter future that the CPP will bring.  Let’s hope that this year’s legislative session reflects the visionary, practical approach Kansas needs.

 



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