Last year, the Kansas secretary of health and environment shot down an application for two new coal plants -- from the gee-whiz!-named Sunflower Electric Power Corp. -- that were partly intended to power Colorado, including rural electric cooperatives such as Poudre Valley REA. Renewable-energy boosters were cheered by the decision, which was notable because the rejection was based on concern over greenhouse gas emissions from the two 700-megawatt coal plants.
Big Coal doesn't take defeat easily, however, and the industry wanting to build its $3.6 billion project helped push a bill through the Kansas state legislature that basically told the Jayhawk health and environment secretary to take a hike, stripping the office's authority. The bill passed, but Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill last Friday and repeated that Kansas is worried sick about the impacts of climate change in her ag-centric state. Enviros remain hopeful that the decision and the reasoning will influence other states to move away from building new coal plants, while local REAs have their own debates over energy sources.