Kansas governor offers clean energy proposals

TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas released proposals on the eve of a new legislative session to encourage renewable energy, create green jobs and curb the state's reliance on carbon fuels.

Among the proposals Sebelius issued on Friday are stricter energy efficiency standards for new government buildings, and a system that would allow Kansas citizens with wind turbines or solar panels to sell excess power back to utilities. Sebelius also wants to require utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 20 percent by2020.

Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who has led Sebelius’ efforts on energy policy, called the ideas "a tremendous opportunity” that could create thousands of jobs.

Making Sebelius' proposals reality will be up to state lawmakers. Last year, similar proposals became entangled in debate about two coal plants proposed for western Kansas. The debate is expected to continue this year.

Sebelius' top regulator rejected the plants in 2007 because they would emit carbon dioxide, the main gas causing climate disruption. Lawmakers who support the plants tried but failed to pass legislation to overrule Sebelius. As a compromise, they included incentives for renewable energy.

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