PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Net metering impact not great so far

  • Kansans who have their own renewable energy capability can now sell excess electricity back to their utility.

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  • Kansans who have their own renewable energy capability can now sell excess electricity back to their utility.
    The Net Metering and Easy Connection Act, signed by Gov. Mark Parkinson, is part of the Renewable Energy Standards Act that allows customers of investor owned utilities, like Westar Energy, to sell excess energy back to the utility over the same lines.
    This legislation, that also codifies Kansas’s Renewable Energy Standard, will help bring Kansas in line with other states in allowing net metering and encouraging continued development of alternative energy sources.
    “Prior to this year, Kansas was falling behind many other states in the production of cleaner energy. More than two-thirds of the country had a Renewable Energy Standard, and Kansas was one of only six states not to allow net metering. With this legislation, we are no longer at the back of the line,” said Parkinson in a press release announcing the signing. “The nation’s energy challenge provides the opportunities for a ‘made in America’ energy program, and Kansas is ready to be a leader in that effort. We look forward to the new jobs, more wind power and the stronger economy that will be a result of this legislation.”
    While the renewable energy producer benefits from the legislation, the legislature wants to make sure that it doesn’t cause a problem for the utility providing the power.
    “We need to make sure there isn’t so much renewable energy that it would break them,” said Kansas Sen. Ruth Teichman, (R-Stafford.)
    There has to be a fair and equitable agreement with the electric companies. The governor was very interested that net metering was good for all concerned. The result has to be good for everybody, Teichman said.
    Right now very few people have the capability to produce enough renewable energy to meet their needs and have enough to put back into the system, said Leonard Allen, Westar Energy senior communication representative.  
    Most people with renewable energy choose wind power and for now that number is small. It may grow over time but for now it is not an issue for Westar, Allen said.
    Net metering also does not affect Ninnescah Electric Cooperative or Sunflower Electric that serve Pratt and Pratt County.
    Pratt Community College has three wind generators that supply a portion of their total electrical use. They do not produce more energy than they consume but if they did produce more they could sell it back to their energy provider with their current system, said Pratt City Manager Dave Howard.
    Net metering uses the same equipment to monitor electricity usage whether buying electricity or selling electricity. It all is reflected within the system, Howard said.
    The city of Pratt can generate their own power and sell it back but the new legislation affects only producers with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, hydropower and geothermal.