Kansas RPS Means Higher Costs and Lost Jobs

Mar 10, 2014 by AFP

The following is an opinion piece by AFP-Kansas State Director Jeff Glendening:

It’s been a rough month for supporters of government mandates. First, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis concluded that the president’s health care law would drive the equivalent of more than 2 million full-time workers out of the labor force over the next few years. Then, administration officials moved to push back the implementation date for one of Obamacare’s unpopular employer mandates. As White House officials scramble to delay job-killing mandates in their own law, lawmakers in a number of states – including Kansas – are working to roll back another mandate that threatens economic growth.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a mandate crafted under former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ voluntary guidelines for energy companies. Those restrictions were then signed by then Gov. Mark Parkinson in 2009. The RPS dictated that 10 percent of Kansas’ energy was to be derived from renewable sources by 2010. Additional regulations stipulate that the rates increase to 15 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in 2020.

Gov. Parkinson promised to ensure the expansion of the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation’s coal-fired plant in western Kansas by working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Despite that promise, numerous court battles, lawsuits, and policy changes by the EPA have held up the expansion. The result is a “renewables” industry that has been enriched at the expense of citizens.

Kansans deserve better than to be taken advantage of for political gain. Kansans are calling on our state lawmakers to repeal a policy that results in higher energy bills across the state.

Other states are feeling the effects of RPS laws, too. The Institute for Energy Research recently found that citizens in states with an RPS have electric bills that are, on average, 39 percent higher. Moreover, the standards are overwhelmingly failing to do that supporters promised when they were passed: Of the 36 states with similar laws on the books, only 14 are meeting or are on track to meet the established goals.

Mandates like the RPS disable competition – competition that ultimately leads to lower costs. It’s simply more government involvement that ends up picking winners and losers in the marketplace and we would argue that is not an appropriate role for government.

Now those in favor of the mandates aren’t attempting to argue that costs have gone down under RPS; they’re just blaming the messenger for pointing out the increases.

Jeff Glendening, Kansas State Director, Americans for Prosperity