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Minutes for SB353 - Committee on Utilities

Short Title

Establishing certain setback and construction requirements for wind energy facilities and certain operating conditions for existing wind energy facilities.

Minutes Content for Thu, Feb 10, 2022

The Chairman called for opponent oral testimony on the bill.

Opponent Oral Testimony

Rorik F. Peterson, Director of Development, EDP Renewables North America, spoke as an opponent of the bill.  EDP owns and operates 58 wind farms, nine solar "parks", and seven regional offices across North America, and has other projects in development throughout the state, including potential expansions of existing wind farms. He stated the bill singles out the wind industry and wind turbines with no logical or factual basis, and the enactment of the requirements would send an "ominous" message to any industry looking to expand in Kansas.  (Attachment 3)

Christopher Ollson, PhD, Senior Environmental Scientist, Ollson Environmental Health Management, spoke as an opponent of the bill, stating he was a consultant of record for the state of Vermont, and has testified before other similar committees  In addressing the sound limits in the bill, he stated, "Health Canada says you can have up to 46 decibels of sound", and legislation in other states allows sound between 45 and 50 decibels, which ensures a good night's sleep for homeowners.  He also stated shadow flicker is not a health concern, and the requirements in the bill are far more excessive than any other state in this country.  (Attachment 4)

Alan Claus Anderson, Vice-Chair, Polsinelli Energy Practice Group, spoke as an opponent of the bill.  He stated the bill is not about health and safety, but to eliminate renewable energy in Kansas.  His main points were the bill creates de facto zoning and overrides current zoning, takes away landowners property rights and freedom to contract, is written to apply retroactively, and implicates the rights, freedoms and property interests protected by the Kansas Constitution and the county Home Rule Act.  He also stated counties could pass the same requirements that are in this bill and they "know how to do this and get outside help to the extent they have any questions". (Attachment 5)

Kimberly Svaty, Advanced Power Alliance, spoke as an opponent of the bill.   She listed some of the 40 energy companies Advanced Power Alliance represents, which include not only wind and solar energy production, but also hydrogen, nitrogen, and fuel cells, and how they would like to see that in Kansas.  She discussed how Oklahoma is now the "hydrogen epicenter of the United States", and explained how they had put together a task force of groups that met for a handful of times to "incent how to bring hydrogen to the state."  She stated the bill sends a message to companies that we are not interested in that type of investment in Kansas.  (Attachment 6)

Opponents providing written only testimony:

Gina Mace, Public Policy and Institutional Affairs Manager, Enel Green Power (Attachment 7)

Jessica Lucas, Government Affairs, Clean Energy Business Council (Attachment 8)

Anne Smith, VP of Opportunity, Alltite (Attachment 9)

Zack Pistora, Legislative Director and State Lobbyist, Kansas Chapter of Sierra Club (Attachment 10)

Nichole Goodman, Director, Government Affairs, Invenergy (Attachment 11)

Kent Eckles, Kansas Chamber (Attachment 12)

Following oral opponent testimony, there was a period of questions and answers.

Seeing no more questions, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 2:30 pm.