A federal judge in Kansas last week signed off on a consent decree between the Board of Public Utilities and Sierra Club that will require the Board of Public Utilities to reduce air emissions at its power plants and implement energy efficiency and conservation programs in Wyandotte County.
The agreement had been announced last summer and the final order was approved last week.
According to Craig Volland, a spokesman for the Sierra Club, the BPU will spend $750,000 in a five-year period to encourage energy conservation and efficiency among residents and businesses here.
Volland said a committee has been formed to oversee this program, an Energy Efficiency Community Collaborative, that will help educate residents and businesses. The committee will be headed by Richard Mabion, a member of the Sierra Club’s Kansas Chapter Executive Committee.
According to the Sierra Club, the program will include home energy audits, free energy efficient light bulbs, a refrigerator replacement program, and home retrofits through a partnership between BPU and Habitat for Humanity.
Mabion recently received a special achievement award from the Sierra Club’s national board president for his work in Wyandotte County.
Some of the BPU’s coal-fired plants in Wyandotte County are implementing air quality controls, which will reduce emissions. The Nearman plant will put air quality controls in place on the coal-burning plant. The Quindaro plants will use natural gas only. The BPU and Unified Government will hold a special session to discuss the BPU’s $250 million capital improvement plan at 5 p.m. today, Dec. 12, in the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th. It is open to the public.
The $750,000 for energy efficiency programs is expected to come from the BPU ratepayers.
“We feel that money will certainly pay for itself in savings for those businesses and residents that take advantage of it,” Volland said.
The Sierra Club also supports the use of more renewable energy, such as wind energy and solar energy, he said. In recent years, the cost of wind and solar energy has become more affordable, he added.
While the BPU had no comment on it today, several months ago it was thought that the BPU agreed to the consent decree at the same time as directives were anticipated from the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions.