Congratulations, Kansas Governor Kelly and Kansas Legislature

Some really good news from the legislature (Republican) and Kansas Governor Kelly (Democrat). From the Kansas Reflector:

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly signed legislation supported by more than 150 legislators that would triple to $15 million annual state investment in modernization and infrastructure repairs of airports in Kansas.

On Thursday, Kelly put her signature to House Bill 2498 to broaden resources dedicated to improvements at 109 airfields. The Kansas Department of Transportation recommended lawmakers adjust the current $5 million state appropriation, which hadn’t been increased since 2013.

A recent state assessment of airports in Kansas indicated runway pavement conditions were deteriorating. The budget could be used for that type of safety upgrade, automated weather observation systems, rehabilitation of existing aviation facilities or the planning and building of new infrastructure.

“These airports are very important to our economy and to providing air ambulance access to trauma centers for many of our rural citizens,” said Sen. Mike Petersen, the Wichita Republican chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee...

Meanwhile, the Democratic governor signed House Bill 2527 forbidding the Kansas Corporation Commission from approving retirement of fossil fuel or nuclear generating units unless the utility owner demonstrated it wouldn’t undercut regional electricity rate competitiveness or harm consumers. The law mandated a utility interested in shutting down a generation station had to show it could meet consumer demand with remaining assets.

The legislation unanimously passed by the House and adopted in the Senate 33-2 would amend the state’s net metering statute to increase a cap on the amount of power renewable energy systems, including solar, could sell to their utility provider through the state’s electric grid.

Let's start with the power plants. There are a number of experts concerned with what I would characterize as Kansas' overreliance on wind and, to a much lesser extent, solar. This bill prevents utilities from retiring nuclear and fossil fuel plants unless they can show they can meet demand without them. 

The second bill will allow for more ASOS stations to be installed at Kansas airports. In addition to making the airports more valuable (e.g., by allowing IFR operations that are not allowed without real-time observations), we can use those obs for real-time mesoscale forecasting. I don't have to tell this audience the importance of those. 

Well done to the legislature and Governor Kelly!!


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