Evergy’s Energy Plan: More Fossil Fuels, Less Clean Energy


Edward Smith, edward.smith@sierraclub.org

Kansas City, KS -- Evergy, the largest electric utility in Kansas and the second largest in Missouri, filed its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with Kansas and Missouri regulators today. There’s not a lot of good news for customers who care about clean energy and climate change. 

In Kansas, Evergy now proposes two combined-cycle gas plants in the late 2020s. Additionally, the utility lowered its total solar and wind installations during this decade while extending the life of its Lawrence power plant by moving its coal unit 4 retirement date to 2028 and conversion of unit 5 to gas in 2028. Evergy also has no plans for energy storage, like batteries, this decade. Improvements in the Kansas plan from the previous one is a non-binding consideration of retiring Jeffrey coal units 2 and 3 around 2030 to avoid environmental compliance costs.

“It’s maddening that Evergy said it would close its Lawrence coal plant two years ago, yet here we are with the utility committing to burn fossil fuels at the plant years beyond the original plan,” said Nancy Muma, volunteer with the Wakarusa Group of the Sierra Club's Kansas Chapter. “That’s not a decision utility leaders make while proclaiming to care about climate change and the cost to its customers.” 

In Missouri, Evergy similarly proposes less wind and solar by 2030 compared to previous plans with no plans for energy storage. Additionally, the utility doesn’t plan to retire its Hawthorn coal plant until 2055.

“The City of Kansas City government and community living near the Hawthorn coal plant have called for its closure by 2025, yet Evergy’s leaders chose to continue its operation in a large Black and Latino community for another three decades, one of the last remaining coal plants in a major metropolitan area,” said Billy Davies, Conservation Organizer with the Missouri Sierra Club Chapter. “Evergy has a plethora of tools to move more quickly to clean energy as its customers have demanded, but unfortunately it appears the utility is choosing not to use them as we’re watching climate change impact our region through wildfire smoke from out west and drought locally. This is unacceptable, and Kansas Citians and all Evergy customers deserve better.” 

An IRP is mandated every three years by state utility commissions, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) and Missouri Public Service Commissions (PSC), which regulate monopoly utilities like Evergy, to forecast how the utility will meet energy demand over the next twenty years. Utilities submit updates to their IRPs annually based on new information, like energy prices or the passage of new state or federal laws, like the Inflation Reduction Act. Evergy filed its first ever IRP with Kansas regulators in 2021, a plan the utility changed before the ink was even dry after months of stakeholder and regulator engagement. Sierra Club previously advocated for the IRP during the merger of KCP&L and Westar that formed Evergy in 2018. 

Sierra Club has elevated the devastating financial, environmental, and health impacts of Evergy’s coal plants for years. Evergy received a ‘D’ in Sierra Club’s latest Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges report, which evaluated utilities on how their energy choices moving forward will impact the climate crisis. In 2019, Sierra Club released a report finding that Evergy’s Kansas coal fleet lost $267 million from 2015 through 2018 and that, “Evergy’s La Cygne and Jeffrey plants combined are expected to lose $847 million over the next 20 years,” among other findings. 

Evergy’s Kansas energy plans should be available here. Evergy’s Missouri energy plans can be found here and here.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.