Kansas Republican Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts took opposite votes Tuesday on an amendment to provide $95 million in federal funding for wind energy research.
Moran voted for, and Roberts against, a measure co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat and Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, to restore $15 million in wind energy research funds to a House of Representatives energy and water development appropriations bill.
The Senate approved the amendment 54-42.
Kansas gets more than 20 percent of its electricity from wind power. Iowa gets 28.5 percent of its power from wind, the highest percentage in the U.S. But wind produces only 4.7 percent of power nationwide.
“Wind energy deserves fair treatment among government support for different energy sources,” Grassley said on the Senate floor. “This amendment gives wind energy the attention it deserves.”
Grassley noted that Congress had long funded research for fossil fuels and nuclear power.
20 Percentage of Kansas electricity generated from wind.
The very spending bill that now provides $95 million to the Department of Energy for wind research also gives the department $632 million for fossil fuel research and $1 billion for nuclear research.
Kansas relies on coal for about 60 percent of its electricity production. Most of it comes from Wyoming. Kansas has one nuclear power plant, which generates about 17 percent of the state’s electricity.
“Cutting funding for the DOE’s Wind Energy Program will ultimately deny savings to American consumers,” said Tom Kiernan, the industry group’s CEO. “Wind power costs two-thirds less than it did six years ago thanks in part to results of this program.”