The goal of using less energy to light, heat and cool businesses throughout Kansas City makes solid economic sense.
An agreement announced last week forming the Kansas City Energy Initiative is a good start. It calls for a partnership among City Hall, Kansas City Power & Light and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The task would be to achieve, by 2030, a 5 percent reduction in electricity used to power many government and private buildings throughout the city.
KCP&L’s offer to dramatically increase the rebates it offers for energy efficiency improvements in buildings should attract customers. Some potential upgrades include the use of LED lights as well as modern heating and cooling monitors.
Saving on electricity bills in city buildings would be good news for taxpayers. Companies that reduce their costs would be able to control rent costs and make their structures more attractive to tenants. The utility could reduce or delay future investments in expensive power plants — including coal-burning ones that spew harmful emissions into the air.
It’s encouraging to see the Natural Resources Defense Council heavily involved in promoting sound ways to carry out the Kansas City plan. The environmental group is trying to stoke competition among 10 cities to see which ones can save the most energy.
Other local cities can join, too. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all, government-imposed plan. Cities are free to to find the best ways to reduce electricity consumption within their own boundaries.
Chamber CEO Jim Heeter put it well, saying, “The cheapest form of energy is the energy you don’t use.” If Kansas City’s conservation plan plays out as hoped, everyone wins.