HOUSTON -- Governor Kathleen Sebelius addressed the American Wind Energy Association’s Wind Power 2008 Conference to highlight the work in Kansas to be a leader in renewable energy.
“A recent poll by the Land Institute showed that three out of four Kansans want the state to increase its commitment to wind-powered energy," Sebelius said. “The mood of the heartland is changing and Kansans want a comprehensive energy strategy which includes maximizing our wind resources.
“We’ve also concentrated on creating a business climate suitable to industry growth and expansion. We’ve eliminated the taxes on new business machinery and equipment.
“We’ve eliminated the Franchise Tax for approximately 16,000 small businesses by raising the net worth exemption to one million dollars.
“We’ve reduced unemployment insurance taxes for employers by $80 million, and have one of the lowest workers’ compensation rates in the country.
“We’ve got a great business climate and people are noticing.
“For the third straight year, Area Development magazine has named Kansas the winner of the Silver Shovel Award for job creation and capital investment.
“Pollina Corporate Real Estate named Kansas a Top 10 pro-business state and Site Selection magazine named Kansas a Top 10 state in its annual Competiveness Awards.
“But even with positive business climates in states like Kansas, there is a lot that the Federal Government can do to ensure the wind industry thrives nation wide.
“We need our leaders in Congress and in the White House to make renewable energy a priority.
“The Department of Energy’s goal for 20 percent wind power by 2030 is a step in the right direction - but the timetable should be significantly accelerated.
“Congress must renew the Production Tax Credits AND make it clear to investors that this incentive will last for several years.
“The market will work effectively and competitively as long as investors know their long-term investments are prudent.
“Transmission lines and wind farms take years to develop and single-year credits send the wrong signal about our commitment to diversifying America’s long-term energy portfolio.
“A national RPS would help to give clear policy guidelines to the financial community, allowing market investments to flourish.
“Creating a patchwork of regulatory interventions on a state-by-state basis is not a good approach to the national challenge of reducing green house gas emissions.
“To reduce pollution and increase wind energy, we need clear federal rules about the cost of CO2.
“And, we need to make sure that any charge for CO2 emissions is invested in research and production of cleaner alternative energy sources, like wind.
“While states have made great strides, we need clear leadership at the federal level with a commitment to stepping up our development of our alternative energy resources.
“This is a case where consumers are well ahead of Congress as the demand for cleaner energy alternatives is growing across the country.
“Moving toward renewable energy provides great opportunities for more good-paying jobs, while helping to address global warming concerns.
“That’s why today, Kansans want comprehensive energy reform – and they want it to include a strong commitment to harness the resource that we have in the blowing wind.
“Kansans are ready to play their part in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
“As Governor, it’s important to me to ensure that my state has a stable and reliable source of electricity that fosters strong economic growth.
“But it’s equally important to me to protect our environment for future generations.”