Energy costs top discussion at annual Community Environmental Forum

Kimberley and Josh Svaty were the featured speakers at Thursday's Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues.
Kimberley and Josh Svaty were the featured speakers at Thursday’s Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues.

The cost of new energy was the featured topic at Thursday’s Thirteenth Annual Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues at Village Presbyterian Church — and the featured speakers had a unique set of experiences from which to analyze the issue.

A fifth generation farmer, Josh Svaty currently serves as the vice president of the Kansas Land Institute. Previously, he served as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture under Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and had been a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for seven years. His wife Kimberly Svaty is a principal at Gencur Svaty Public Affairs, and has served in lobbying and public relations functions on policy issues for more than two decades.

Both Svatys had an insider’s view of the debate surrounding the Holcomb coal-fired power plant when it first arose in the mid-2000s. Josh said Thursday that the economics of natural gas, coal and wind energy simply don’t justify spending money on coal.

“Economically, it does not make any sense at all to spend the money on a long-term coal plant,” he said.

Kimberly noted that new regulations pertaining to coal fired plants will make wind even more attractive as a new energy source than it already is.

“Wind prices right now from a technological standpoint are extremely low,” Kimberly said. “They are the lowest cost forms of generation hands down.”

The annual forum is put on by the Kansas Natural Resources Council, the Prairie Village Environmental Committee, and True Blue Women. The Environmental Action Committee at Village Presbyterian Church hosted the event.

Moderator Burke Griggs is Assistant Kansas Attorney General and a Woods Institute for the Environment Fellow at Stanford University.
Moderator Burke Griggs is Assistant Kansas Attorney General and a Woods Institute for the Environment Fellow at Stanford University.