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Minutes for HB2227 - Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications

Short Title

Authorizing solar power purchase agreements with renewable energy suppliers, exempting the sales of electricity pursuant to power purchase agreements from public utility regulation and requiring electric public utilities to enter into parallel generation contracts with certain customers of the utility.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 7, 2023

Chairperson Delperdang opens the hearing on HB2227.

Nick Myers provided an overview of the bill. (Attachment37). Mr. Myers responded to questions from the committee members.

Chair recognized proponents for in person testimony as follows:

Jessica Lucas, Clean Energy Business Council (Attachment38) testified in support of the bill and deferred her time to conferee Stanley L Rasmussen, Department of Defense (Attachment39) who testified in support of the bill. He said the bill would allow the Kansas Military installations to increase energy resilience and security while also allowing us to pursue the potential cost savings by generating some of our own power.

David Kerr, Kansas Ethanol (Attachment40) testified in support of the bill. He said the bill would have the potential to help them achieve their goal to lower their carbon by allowing them to buy a component with very low carbon solar energy and suggest raising the commercial limit from 200kW to 2 megawatts or higher.

John Shively, Sisters of Charity (Attachment41) testified in support of the bill. He said they serve the poor and vulnerable and with this bill many Kansans would benefit from accessing renewable energy, particularly in poor and marginalized communities.

Malcolm Proudfit, Good Energy Solutions (Attachment42) testified in support of the bill. He said Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) have the ability to provide another tool to consumers, allowing solar to proliferate further.  PPA's typically have lower credit score requirements than traditional solar financing, so this is a powerful vehicle to help lower income Kansans.

Paul Snider, Kansans for Lower Electric Rates (Attachment43) testified in support of the bill. He said this bill would allow energy customers to contract directly with a renewable energy developer to buy power purchase agreements to offset power provided by other providers.

Brent Ragsdale, Willdan Performance Engineering (Attachment44) testified in support of the bill.  He said their company does work in multiple states working with school districts, hospitals, university and religious organizations. Most states allow third party power purchase agreements by providers other than the monopoly utility. This bill would lever the playing field and help Kansas communities help themselves.

Robert Rosenberg, Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency (Attachment45) testified in support of the bill. He said this bill would create a state wide policy that goes beyond investor owned utilities. Mr. Rosenberg believes it's necessary to encourage rooftop solar to modernize for long term benefits.

Zack Pistosa, Kansas Sierra Club (Attachment46) testified in support of the bill.  He said this bill would put Kansas in line with other states taking advantage of 3rd party solar and renewable energy power purchase agreements and help expand solar use and capture the benefits of clean energy.

Proponents- Written Only testimony as follows:

Chair recognized neutral for in person testimony:

Patrick Orr, CURB (Attachment61) testified neutral on the bill. Mr. Orr said this bill would be consistent with development of renewable energy resources in Kansas.

Chair recognized opponents for in person testimony as follows:

Doug Shepherd, Kansas Electric Cooperative, Inc (Attachment62) testified as an opponent of the bill.  Mr. Shepherd said electric coops are member owned and provide electric service at cost on a not-for-profit basis.  This bill would allow renewable energy suppliers to sell electricity generated by solar or wind generator directly to retail customers.

Lindsay Campbell, Pioneer Electric Cooperative and Southern Pioneer Electric Cooperative (Attachment63)  testified as an opponent of the bill.  She said it would result in significant disruption in their ability to work with their members and consumers to design renewable energy programs that meet their needs and to ensure stable rates in western Kansas.

Kimberly Gencur Svaty, Kansas Municipal Utilities (Attachment64) testified as an opponent of the bill.  She said the bill for municipal utilities is a duplicative state mandate which could significantly increase costs to customers while eroding the ability to operate a cost-effective and efficient utility.

Jeff Martin, Evergy (Attachment65) testified as an opponent of the bill.  Mr. Martin said it would hurt residential and smaller commercial customers by allowing larger customers to avoid paying their fair share of the grid while still being served by it and shifts the costs to those customers. This bill would simply be a mini-deregulation bill for large consumers.

Opponents-Written Only testimony as follows:

The conferees responded to questions from the committee members.

Chairperson Delperdang closed the hearing on HB2227.

The next House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunication committee meeting is scheduled for February 9th.

Chair adjourned the meeting at 10:46am.