Energy

Kansas regulators will consider a compromise that would allow Westar Energy to increase rates for electricity customers by $78 million. That would mean $5 to $7 more a month for most customers. The Kansas Corporation Commission will consider the compromise during hearings starting Monday. Commissioners will decide whether to adopt it or craft their own plan.

The Clean Power Plan  that President Barack Obama announced Monday is designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants — the largest source of those emissions — by almost a third by the year 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

How that will play out in Kansas remains to be seen.

Gov. Sam Brownback issued a statement Monday criticizing the president’s proposal regarding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules.

Utility companies that operate coal-burning power plants in the area say they’re exploring how new federal carbon emissions rules will affect them and their customers.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released its Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases by nearly a third in the next 15 years.

A spokesman for the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, which operates the Nearman Creek Power Station in Kansas City, Kansas, said it was unclear how the plan would play out.

An ordinance that met significant opposition from some building owners has passed The Kansas City Council. Owners of large buildings in Kansas City, Missouri will be required to make information public on energy and water consumption. 

The reporting program will begin with municipal buildings and voluntary business participants, but by May, 2017 owners of buildings over 100,000 square feet will be required to calculate so-called energy “benchmarks” or face fines. The data goes public in the fall of 2018. 

A battle over air pollution from power plants is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Kansas and 20 other states contend the EPA should have considered the costs of a 2011 rule that forces coal-fired power plants to install new equipment to remove mercury and other toxins from their exhaust.

An appeals court held that they didn’t have to consider the cost, but the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the states’ challenge. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says it’s a very narrow challenge, and one the agency will win.

Alfred Palmer / Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency just released its plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and that idea is generating some heat of its own. On Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske and a panel examine what the EPA standards mean for Missouri and Kansas. Both states rely heavily on coal-powered energy and face the challenge of meeting the emission cuts in the time allowed.  We’ll also look at whether alternatives like wind and solar will be catapulted to the front of the line in area energy production.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Ilya Protopopov stopped at a U-Stop station in Lincoln, Neb., on his way to the track to fuel up his truck and a few dirt bikes. His fuel of choice, 91 octane unleaded, was selling for $4.01 per gallon.

“I used to complain about $1.50 gas, now it’s over $4,” Protopopov said. “Pretty steep.”

But on the same pump there was another fuel selling for under $3. E85 was going for $2.53.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A Kansas City-based alternative energy company will protest a request by KCP&L to stop giving solar rebates in Missouri. The utility calculates the rebates are too costly.

The program is an outgrowth of 2008 passage of Proposition C to support a renewable energy standard. It required utilities to start offering solar rebates in 2010 and indefinitely.  

KCP&L argued funds have been depleted, and the utility has requested permission to stop offering solar rebates after September 3.

The Science of Energy

Mar 12, 2013

Decades ago, scientists and energy experts predicted that 2013 would include flying cars and that by now, oil would be a thing of the past. But the state of our energy consumption in America has stayed somewhat the same, while causing intense political discussion on the matter.


David R. Tribble

PLEASE NOTE: This show was recorded on January 14.

The oil and gas industry is seeing a slew of booms all over the country—in North Dakota, Texas, and now in southern Kansas. The key: How much can be retrieved from something called the Mississippi Line Formation in south-central Kansas.

The pressing energy issue in the 2008 presidential campaign was how to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Four years later, the drive for "green energy" has been replaced by a new imperative: the need to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by 2020," Mitt Romney declared during a campaign speech in August. "That means we produce all the energy we use in North America."

He reiterated that goal in the opening minutes of the presidential candidates' debate in Denver this week.

zkoenig / Panoramio

Compared to other areas of the country, Missouri and Kansas have it pretty good when it comes to energy pricing.