May 12, 2014 by AFP

What they say:

Supporters of Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates make the claim that RPS is not responsible for electric rate increases. Some suggest that the 2013 and 2014 Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) reports prove that RPS mandates have not caused rate increases.

Reality check:

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) reports what percentage of overall revenue requirements for the electric companies is necessitated by meeting RPS mandates.  In the year 2013,  2.2 percent of the money needed by electric utilities to operate was a direct result of meeting RPS mandates.  The KCC does not provide comparison data for other sources of electricity production or release the underlying data for their calculations.

It’s important to note that the KCC has only issued reports for years 2012 and 2013.  These are years in which electric companies have already met, or are near the RPS requirements. There are no KCC reports from 2008-2012, when the utility companies were first trying to meet the new mandates. (*Kansas electric rates went up 8.9% in 2008, 7.1% in 2009, 4.6% in 2010, and 6.5% in 2011).

Next year will bring another step, from a 10% to 15% renewable energy mandate.

As long as wind energy is supported by a federal production tax credit and is mandated to be purchased by Kansas consumers, it is quite likely for wind power to be profitable. But if it is as profitable as supporters claim, then wind energy should no longer need subsidies and mandates to thrive.

*US Energy Information Agency data for average rate for all sectors