The Koch-funded conservative lobby group Americans for Prosperity is pushing a state bill that could cut funding for the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority, a body that has helped dramatically increase wind energy production in one of the breeziest states in the U.S.
The Authority was established in 2005 because “the state’s major electric utilities were not developing the necessary transmission to get power to where it was needed,” Midwest Energy News reports. “KETA, by contrast, has analyzed the need for transmission within the state, and has tried to create momentum for projects it considered necessary.”
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But with long-distance transmission planning carried out by the Southwest Power Pool, AfP’s Kansas state director, Jeff Glendening spotted an opening, “stepped up to the mic and introduced the bill,” said Senate Utilities Committee Chair Robert Olson.
Kansas Sierra Club Legislative Director Zack Pistora said KETA had helped build impetus for wind energy development in the state. “We’ve got about 10 times as much wind on the grid, and a lot of it goes to Alabama, Arkansas, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. I’d say that’s a pretty strong accomplishment,” he said.
Wind developer Joe Spease agreed that “if we were to leave transmission to this free-market ideal that Americans for Prosperity proposes, we’d have a far more screwed-up transmission system than we do now,” adding that “utilities are responsible for their little fiefdoms. The problem is, our grid has to be connected throughout regions. The more regulation you have, the better off the citizens will be.”