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KySEA Blog

Feb 22, 2015

Take action on Clean Energy Bills

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Feb 22, 2015 11:25 AM

Please take a moment to contact Kentucky legislators in support of these clean energy policies!
 
You can contact lawmakers through the legislative message line (1-800-372-7181) or by sending an email message through the General Assembly's website. You can usually leave multiple messages with just a single phone call.

1)   Action Item #1: Please call or email your own Representative, members of the House Tourism and Energy Committee, and House Leadership. Ask them to support and hold a hearing on SB 190, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. This bill asks utilities in Kentucky to ramp up their renewable energy generation and energy efficiency programs over the next ten years. 
 
2)   Action Item #2: Please call or email your own Representative, members of the House Tourism and Energy Committee, and House Leadership. Ask them to support and hold a hearing on HB 339, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. This bill asks utilities in Kentucky to ramp up their renewable energy generation and energy efficiency programs over the next ten years.
 
Thank you for all you do.

Feb 02, 2015

Clean Energy Opportunity Act webinar

by Erik Hungerbuhler — last modified Feb 02, 2015 11:35 PM

This webinar will help folks get ready to talk with legislators about the Clean Energy Opportunity Act in the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly.

 

 

May 09, 2014

General Assembly 2014 Wrap-Up

by Erik Hungerbuhler — last modified May 09, 2014 12:09 PM
Filed Under:

The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up on April 15, and KYSEA is proud to report that we had an excellent session building support, mobilizing citizen lobbyists and advancing the conversation around clean energy in Kentucky. Though our first attempt at a Lobby Day was snowed out, several folks were able to safely make it to Frankfort and held many positive meetings with legislators. This momentum kept going during our rescheduled lobby day on February 26 in support of our bill, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian. Between the two lobby days, nearly 40 KYSEA representatives spoke with 44 legislators and received more support than we ever have in the past. The jobs and economic opportunities in clean energy, particularly energy efficiency, are gaining traction.

The information-only hearing on our bill was held on March 6 before the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee.  Chairman Keith Hall gave us nearly the entire hearing to testify on what this bill will bring to Kentucky. Afterwards, Rep. Hall spoke with us at length about how important energy efficiency is to his constituents in Eastern Kentucky.

Thanks to everyone who lobbied hard for this bill and helped to make our hearing so successful. We know that next year will be even better!

There were several other energy-related bills that KYSEA tracked during the session.

In the House:

  • HB 52: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB 63: Would require a 30-day supply of fuel on-site for power plants. Since it’s difficult to store natural gas on-site, this was a bill to support the coal industry. It received a hearing but no vote.
  • HB 291: Increases public participation and clarifies setbacks for the siting of electric facilities. Became law.
  • HB 388: Allows the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to set emissions reductions standards for coal-fired power plants, rather than the federal EPA. Became law.
    Note: This was a “just-for-show” bill because state law cannot supersede federal law.
  • HB404: Would establish a structure for Property Assessed Clean Energy projects, which allows for commercial retrofits to be paid back through property taxes. Passed the House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
  • HB535: Would raise the net metering limit from 30kW to 500kW. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB489: Would allow smaller Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) to participate in state projects. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB573: Essentially would require the Public Service Commission to review the proposal to close of the Big Sandy coal-fired power plant. Passed out of Committee but did not receive a hearing on the House floor.

In the Senate:

  • SB67: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Passed in the Senate but did not receive a hearing in the House.
  • SB153: Allows for use of state pollution prevention funds as a match for federal funds to provide technical assistance for energy efficiency projects.  Became law.

We are excited for the opportunities the next legislative session will bring. As always, we invite you to get involved with KYSEA and share your thoughts and ideas for bringing clean energy policy to Kentucky.

Mar 03, 2014

Hearing on HB195, March 6, 2014

by Lane Boldman — last modified Mar 03, 2014 04:48 PM
Filed Under:

There will be a hearing of the Clean Energy Opportunity act on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 10:00 in room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Coalition groups will be working to have their members in attendance, so please join us!

Feb 04, 2014

Slides from Clean Energy Webinar

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Feb 04, 2014 09:25 AM

Many members of the Ky Sustainable Energy Alliance will be in Frankfort this week talking about the opportunity to generate jobs and energy savings through the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, HB 195. Last night we offered a webinar to help prepare for good conversations with lawmakers - or anyone else - about clean energy policies.

We are pleased to make those slides available here.

Thank you for your interest and for all you do to promote clean energy solutions in Kentucky. 

We hope to see you on Feb 26, 2014 for KySEA's Clean Energy Lobby Day. We'll gather in room 111 of the Capitol Annex starting around 9 am. For more information, please contact lisa@kysea.org.

Jan 22, 2014

2014 Clean Energy Lobby Day

by Erik Hungerbuhler — last modified Jan 22, 2014 05:00 PM
Filed Under:

Capitol Solar Install

Your voice is needed to make the case for clean energy policies in Kentucky that can generate thousands of good new jobs and help our families and businesses save money by saving energy.

HB 195, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, is a practical and powerful way to jumpstart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy across our Commonwealth. The bill is modeled on policies already working well and creating jobs in places like Ohio and North Carolina, along with about 30 other states. With a slumping economy and energy bills running high, Kentuckians are looking for meaningful solutions. HB 195 would generate about 28,000 net new jobs in the Commonwealth over the next decade. Ten years from now, average electric bills in Kentucky are projected to be 8-10% lower under this bill than under a “business as usual” scenario.

Join with members of the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance for a Clean Energy Lobby Day in Frankfort on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. 

Let us know if you plan to attend by registering today!

Here’s a brief run down of our schedule on February 5th:

  • Meet in Room 125 of the Capitol annex in Frankfort from 9 am to 11:45 am, we will then switch to Room 129 (next door) from 11:45 am-1 pm. 

  • Talk with lawmakers between 9 am and 1 pm.

  • Reconvene in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex from 2 to 4 pm for a coalition meeting of the KY Sustainable Energy Alliance.

We will offer a webinar on Monday, February 3rd at 7 pm EST/6 pm CST to review key information about the bill and the case for clean energy policies in Kentucky. Here’s how to join that call:

  • To view the slide show, go to www.readytalk.com. Then enter access code: 8931147.

  • To join the phone call, dial 866-740-1260 and then enter access Code: 8931147.

We will try to schedule as many appointments as possible with legislators on February 26th. And we will do our best to match you with any meetings that are scheduled with legislators from your region. However, if you have a good relationship with specific legislators, it’s a good idea for you to reach out to them yourself to set up an appointment. Please do let us know if you’ve confirmed a meeting so that we don’t duplicate efforts. You can send any related updates to Carrie@kysea.org or lisa@kysea.org.

Can't make it to Frankfort?

Of course, if you can’t make it to Frankfort on February 26th, you can still make your voice heard by calling or emailing your legislators and asking them to support HB 195. The toll-free message line to all legislators is 1-800-372-7181. You can also send an email message to any legislator through this website: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Legislators.htm

Feel free to contact lisa@kysea.org with questions or updates.

We look forward to seeing you in Frankfort.

Jan 18, 2013

Resources about the Clean Energy Opportunity Act

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Jan 18, 2013 08:40 AM
Filed Under:

More than 25 individuals from Whitesburg to Paducah tuned in recently for a webinar about making our voices heard for clean energy.

As promised, here are links to the slideshow and other materials to support good conversations about the opportunity and need for clean energy policies in Kentucky.

1) Slides from the January 17, 2013 webinar

2) A recent report detailing faulty claims used by the American Legislative Exchange Council to attack state-based renewable energy standards. 

3) Fact sheet about the 2012 Clean Energy Opportunity Act. (The information on this fact sheet is still accurate, but the bill will receive a new number when it is refiled in February 2013. We'll post an updated fact sheet at that time.)

Thanks for your interest and good work.

Jan 08, 2013

Making our voices heard

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Jan 08, 2013 03:04 PM

As the KY General Assembly convenes this month, your voice is needed to help make the case for Clean Energy policies in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance is encouraging our members to set up in-district meetings with your State Representative and/or Senator on January 29th. (If you can't get an appointment that day, try for a meeting any time during the week of January 28-February 1st).

These conversations are valuable opportunities to build relationships with lawmakers and discuss the benefits of policies to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy in our state.

To help you prepare for an effective conversation with your legislator(s), we are offering a webinar at 8 pm EST on Thursday, January 17th. We'll review  key messaging points, examples and data about the case for clean energy policies in Kentucky. And we'll discuss steps you can take to set up a meeting with your local legislator before he or she returns to Frankfort in February.

Interested? Follow this link to sign up for the Jan 17th webinar and express your interest in organizing or participating in an in-district meeting with a local legislator in late January. We'll follow-up with more information to help you get started. 

We have an opportunity right now to curb energy costs and create thousands of new jobs by growing Kentucky's clean energy resources and taking measures to save money by saving energy. Please sign up today to make your voice heard!

Jul 18, 2012

Indiana Renewable Energy Trainings in August

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jul 18, 2012 01:40 PM

solar panelsThe Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has 2 workshops coming up close to us! If you want some job skills for the new green economy or are considering a system for your home, farm, or business, check them out. Registration fees are very reasonable & support a terrific organization doing terrific work.

Click the links below for details.

G 101.02 Introduction to Renewable Energy
Monday, August 6, Nashville, Indiana
In this half-day course, participants will receive a broad overview of what renewable energy is, how it works, and what it can do for you. Topics will include passive solar design, solar electric systems, solar thermal systems, and wind electric systems.
 
PV 101.12 Basic Photovoltaics
Tuesday, August 7, Nashville, Indiana
This one-day course uses a combination of lecture and classroom activities to teach the basics of solar electric systems. Participants will learn how photovoltaic (PV) systems work, diagram the four PV system types, describe and identify components, understand the best application and limitations of each system type, define the solar window, make energy efficiency recommendations, estimate system loads, and understand the basics of PV site assessment.

Prepared by KySEA member Amanda Fuller

Jul 12, 2012

Solar energy put to work on Hart County farms

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jul 12, 2012 02:05 PM

“If anyone tells you solar energy doesn’t work in Kentucky, they are wrong. It’s all about a balance of what you use and what you produce,” says Sam Avery.

Avery FarmhouseAnd he has the proof. His farmhouse in Upton, Kentucky, touts several solar features, including a water heater, thermal heating system and rooftop photovoltaic panels.

Sam and his wife, Bonnie, built the house in 1978, shortly after purchasing the tract of land in Hart County. Along with a couple dozen friends, they did so as a part of the “back to the land” movement. Sam incorporated passive and active solar into the design of the home from the start.


Electricity-free hydraulic pump sends 10 gallons of water per hour to the house from the nearby stream

“These things just seemed common sense to me when I built the house,” Sam said to a crowd of 35 that gathered at his farmhouse on Friday, July 6. A mix of farmers and friends toured the farm to learn about how each of the home’s renewable energy systems works.

Several people climbed up on the roof to see the solar panels and the large tank in the attic peak that holds the home’s hot water. Another group walked down the hill to understand how the electric-free hydraulic pump that brings water up the hill from a nearby stream works.

Guests on Avery Roof Seeing Solar panels

Through his business Avery and Sun, Sam, a trained installer, has put solar systems on other homes in the area as well. Two years ago, he installed a system on the home of neighbors Wendy and Dennis Price that produces as much electricity as they use.

Wendy likes how easily the solar panels replaced their reliance on coal-burning grid-based electricity. “You don’t notice anything different at all, except a few clicks at dawn and dusk when the system comes on and turns off,” she said.

Everyone at the party was a customer of EKPC’s rural electric cooperatives – living in either the Nolin RECC or Farmers RECC district. As a result, the group was particularly interested to learn about efforts to Renew East Kentucky, a campaign to shift the rural electric co-ops toward a culture of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Sam noted that getting involved in reforming local electric co-ops is a good place to start advocating for clean energy. “As you know, the co-ops are in fact democratic. But as long as the lights go on, most people don’t think about the fact that we are owners of them,” Sam said.

Crowd at AverysThe Averys also encouraged people to understand more about the source of their electricity by  lobbying their legislators for better state clean energy policy.

Having joined the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance as a business member, Sam has been particularly active in advocating for the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a bill in the Kentucky legislature that would establish a renewable and efficiency portfolio standard and feed-in tariffs for Kentucky.

Sam described himself to the crowd as someone who is not a “joiner.” But he said he continues to volunteer his time around clean energy advocacy because he believes it will work.

“It takes people organized, people writing letters, it takes time. We’ll have progressive energy legislation in this state – we will have it.”

 

Facts about the Avery farmhouse:

  • 
Built in 1978
  • 
 Insulation layer outside of stone walls creates a thermal wrap
  • 
Large windowed front foyer is heated by passive solar and provides an energy efficient air buffer
  • 
Solar thermal collector provides ½ the home's heat and heats a below-ground greenhouse
  • Has solar hot water heater
  • 
Rooftop solar panels produce 16 kilowatt hours per day in peak conditions (more than the home uses)
 
Share

Jun 26, 2012

Kentucky Significantly Can Ramp Up Use of Distributed Energy Today, new report finds.

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 26, 2012 11:45 AM

In a KySEA-sponsored webinar on June 21st, Rory McIlmoil of Downstream Strategies discussed the findings of the report “The Opportunities for Distributed Energy in Kentucky,” which illustrate Kentucky’s potential for small-scale renewable energy.

If pursued to its fullest potential, small-scale renewable energy could provide up to 34% of Kentucky’s electricity demand by 2025, the report found.

The report recommends that the state institute policies that encourage distributed renewable energy. The report defined distributed energy generation as “the generation of electricity and heat, or the capture and reuse of waste heat, at or near the point of consumption.”

“The broad overarching purpose of this report was to not only provide a detail of what’s available in Kentucky but to kind of throw out a counter argument for public opinions when it comes to renewable energy,” McIlmoil said.

People often imagine renewable energy as large, centralized solar plants. However, small-scale renewable energy is possible and a practical option in Kentucky. Rather than relying on large power plants, distributed energy generation would allow for on-site energy supplies and local ownership. Local ownership of energy supplies creates more jobs and allows more money to stay in local communities, which would be of great benefit to Kentucky’s economy.

Although it would require many policy changes to reach this potential, transitioning to increased use of these energy resources is possible. Renewable technology is already being used throughout many states, and in Kentucky there are electric co-ops that illustrate the possibility for small-scale renewable energy. “These aren’t technologies of the future,” McIlmoil said.

According to McIlmoil, Kentucky has a greater solar resource than New Jersey, the state that leads the east coast in solar energy, and Germany, which leads the world. Harnessing more of the sun’s power through solar panel installations, for example, would create more jobs by allowing for local labor, as well as installers and engineers.

Although Kentucky has a lot of coal and has the fourth cheapest energy of any state, “that doesn’t equate to low household expenses,” said McIlmoil. Energy costs in Kentucky have risen significantly over the past several years, which McIlmoil claims is because “the price of electricity has been pegged to the price of coal.” Kentucky’s continued dependence on coal will only lead to higher energy prices.

However, distributed renewables would add diversity to Kentucky’s energy portfolio and help stabilize prices, according to McIlmoil. KySEA supports policies that keep energy affordable, and small scale renewable energy has the potential to curb energy costs in the future. This would ultimately help Kentuckians and prevent low-income Kentuckians from dealing with the rising costs of coal.

In addition to improving the economy and environment, a transition to distributed, or decentralized, renewable energy democratizes energy production and generates more participation from Kentuckians, said McIlmoil.

Among the incentives and policy recommendations detailed in the Downstream Strategies report were instituting a renewable energy portfolio standard and a feed-in tariff. These two policies in particular would help make distributed energy possible.

A renewable energy portfolio standard requires that a certain amount of Kentucky’s energy come from renewable resources. The KySEA-supported Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a bill currently in Kentucky’s house, would make this possible by requiring 12.5% of electricity sales to come from renewable energy by 2022, and includes a solar set-aside of 1%.

A feed-in tariff would create a standard rate for electricity. Utilities companies then purchase surplus energy from households and communities at a stable price. This dependability would reduce risk and promote individual and small-scale energy production. The Clean Energy Opportunity Act would institute such a policy.

“Large scale investments in renewable energy would create thousands of new employment opportunities in manufacturing, sales, installation and other industries,” said Andy McDonald, Director of the Kentucky Solar Partnership, a KySEA member organization. “Kentucky should take advantage of the great opportunities outlined in this report to advance solar in our state.”

Jun 19, 2012

Kentucky Has Significant Distributed Renewable Energy Potential a new report finds

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 19, 2012 09:50 AM

Released 6.19.12

New Report Findings for Kentucky: 
Distributed renewable energy systems could generate up to 34 percent of Kentucky’s electricity by 2025


Frankfort, KY - Distributed renewable energy systems could generate up to 34 percent of Kentucky’s electricity by 2025, finds a new report authored by Downstream Strategies. According to the report findings this new generation would increase energy security in the state, diversify Kentucky’s energy portfolio, and curb energy costs for Kentucky ratepayers.

“Electricity prices have gone up 41% over the last 5 years and will continue to rise, threatening low-income families' ability to stay in their homes. We at Kentucky Habitat are not meeting our mission if a family can afford to buy a new home, but then down the road cannot stay in it due to rising utility costs,” says Ginger Watkins, Sustainable Building Specialist with Kentucky Habitat For Humanity. 

“The report outlines a series of practical solutions that are already out there.  Already we’re leveraging some of these solutions in our work, for example Morehead Habitat built a home with heating and cooling costs below $15 per month.  Affordable, quality, low-energy homes in Kentucky are not only possible, they’re already happening”.

Unlike traditional, centralized electricity generation like coal-burning power plants, distributed energy systems, such as solar panels on homes and businesses, generate electricity in smaller amounts for use close to the source. In addition to being clean sources of power, these systems reduce the amount of electricity lost through transmission and reduce the risk of blackouts.

“The Opportunities for Distributed Renewable Energy in Kentucky,” produced by Downstream Strategies of Morgantown, WV, finds that with the right policies in place, Kentucky can provide a significant portion of its electricity through small-scale wind, solar photovoltaics and solar heating and other distributed renewable energy technologies such as combined heat and power systems.

“Our study found that Kentucky has a wealth of renewable energy resources that can be harnessed today using proven and cost-competitive technologies,” said Rory McIlmoil, lead author of the report. “If Kentucky were to implement the policies we recommend, these resources could provide a significant amount of energy while diversifying local economies by generating thousands of local jobs. Kentucky is falling behind other Appalachian states such as Ohio in taking advantage of these opportunities.”

Policies like renewable portfolio standards, expanded net metering, feed-in tariffs and updated grid interconnection standards will make developing distributed renewable energy systems much more achievable and profitable for Kentucky's electric cooperatives, businesses and individuals. The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance has supported the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, which would advance policies aimed at boosting distributed energy, in the last two legislative sessions.

"The US market for solar photovoltaics doubled in 2011, driven by states like New Jersey and California with strong policies to support renewable energy and distributed generation,” said Andy McDonald, Director of the Kentucky Solar Partnership. “Kentucky should take advantage of the great opportunities outlined in this report to advance solar in our state by passing similar policies. Large scale investments in renewable energy would create thousands of new employment opportunities in manufacturing, sales, installation and other industries."
For more information about these policies, visit www.kysea.org.

Download the report here.


You are invited to join lead author of the report, " Rory McIlmoil, for a presentation about the report's findings.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
7:30 -8:30 pm EDT
(No RSVP necessary)
Call: 1-866-740-1260
Access code: 8931147.
Online address: www.readytalk.com
Access code: 8931147. Put this into the box that says “Participant: Join a Conference”.


Jun 16, 2012

Join Us: "Kentucky's Distributed Energy Potential" Presentation

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 16, 2012 03:15 PM

Participate in a KySEA-sponsored webinar on Kentucky's Small-Scale Renewable Energy Potential.

June 21st, 2012
7:30 -8:30 pm EDT


Join us as Rory McIlmoil from Downstream Strategies presents the findings in his report, "The Opportunities for Distributed Energy in  Kentucky." The report finds that there are sufficient in-state renewable energy resources to provide the annual equivalent of 34% of the state’s electricity generation from small-scale distributed energy technologies alone by 2025.

No RSVP necessary.
Call: 1-866-740-1260
Access code: 8931147.

Online address: www.readytalk.com
Access code: 8931147. Put this into the box that says “Participant: Join a Conference”.

Jun 05, 2012

Raise Your Voice About Kentucky's Budget & Clean Energy

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 05, 2012 02:35 PM

Renewable energy and energy efficiency offer real opportunities for Kentucky to put people to work and get our economy back on track, curb our energy costs, and improve our health and well-being. A study released last year by Synapse Energy Economics suggested that Kentucky can create 28,000 jobs in 10 years in this sector. Tax policy is an essential tool to capitalize on Kentucky's clean energy potential.

A Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform has been appointed to study and build consensus around tax reforms that meet the guidelines of fairness, competitiveness, simplicity and compliance, elasticity and adequacy.  

As part of the process, the Commission will be holding Public Meetings across Kentucky. Kentuckians are invited to share their best ideas about needed state tax reforms--ideas that will shape the Commission's recommendations for the 2013 General Assembly.

Clean energy development is an important opportunity for the state's future that tax policy can help support. Use your voice to highlight the important connection between the state budget and the growth of sustainable energy in Kentucky.


Please plan to speak up in the meeting near you!

Blue Ribbon Commission Meetings

Southern Kentucky/Bowling Green: Tuesday June 19, 6-8 pm 
-- Greenwood High School Auditorium, 5065 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green

Louisville Area: Tuesday July 10, 6-8 pm -- 
Location TBA

Northern Kentucky: Tuesday July 24, 6-8 pm
 -- Student Union Ballroom, 20 Kenton Drive, Highland Heights

East KY: Tuesday Aug 7, 6-8 pm 
-- Big Sandy Community & Technical College, Gearheart Auditorium,1 Bert T Combs Drive, Prestonsburg
Central Kentucky/Lexington: Tuesday Aug 21, 6-8 pm
 Bryan Station High School, 201 Eastin   Road, Lexington

Here are some ideas about how about how our tax policy that can advance and support sustainable energy solutions:

1. Increase revenue fairly in order to improve funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, while not placing additional burden on those Kentuckians already hit hardest by rising energy costs.

Kentucky has had successful programs that weatherize homes, provide energy audits, and support pilot projects around renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The state plays an important role in helping catalyze new ideas and provide energy services to those not otherwise served, including low-income Kentuckians. Some of those efforts have been funded with Recovery Act and other federal monies. But that funding has now ended or been cut, and the state lacks the resources to continue those successful efforts and maintain our momentum. That is one reason why any tax reform effort should result in more revenue for these needs in addition to the state's many other needs in education, health and other areas.

Any plan to raise revenue should also adhere to the Commission's stated guideline of fairness. Low and moderate income Kentuckians are already hardest hit by the rapidly rising costs of energy in our state. They should benefit from additional revenue to support sustainable, cost-curbing energy efforts, not shoulder the costs.
 
2. Include targeted incentives to clean energy development as part of tax reform.

Many consumer investments in clean energy make good economic sense along with the benefits they provide for health and the environment. But sometimes the up-front cost of those investments can be a barrier to consumers and businesses. Well-designed, targeted incentives that reduce the cost to consumers of investments in things like insulation, energy efficient appliances, and small-scale renewable energy systems can help overcome those barriers, and would be a positive addition to a tax reform plan.
 
3. Eliminate unfair subsidies to polluting energy sources in a tax reform plan.

Kentucky provides tax subsidies that unfairly give preference to fossil fuels, and taxes the severance of coal at levels lower than many other states and lower than their true cost to our communities. The state's tax expenditure report lists 19 different tax preferences under the category of "Energy Development and Coal Industry Support" and 14 under the category "Environmental Conservation and Historical Preservation," many of which are also energy or coal related. But these tax preferences receive practically no scrutiny. We could save money for needed investments by closely reviewing these and other tax preferences and eliminating those that move Kentucky in the wrong direction.

 

Written Comments

You can leave written comments on the topic at the Commission's website.

Some Additional Resources:
Kentucky Tax Expenditure Report: Details just what we have been spending our money on over the years.

Impact of Coal on Kentucky’s State Budget:  Details that Kentucky spent $115 million more on coal (through direct spending and tax breaks) than we brought in from revenue from coal in 2006. By Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.

May 30, 2012

Bipartisan Majority Want Clean Power

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 30, 2012 02:13 PM

Republished from Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a KySEA member.

A new national survey shows overwhelming and bipartisan support for clean energy policies that go far beyond what is currently in place, especially in Kentucky.

More than 80 percent of the 1,019 people asked agreed with the statement: “The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future.” The favorable response included 69 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats.

green energy our future sign

The survey further defined that policy as “one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans.”

“It is apparent that Americans overwhelmingly favor clean and renewable energy,” said Steve Sanders, director of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, which co-released the survey findings in Kentucky with the Civil Society Institute and KFTC. “For Kentucky, that means we must plan now for a future which is much less dependent on coal as a source of electric power.”

Nearly as many respondents (75 percent) agreed that “Congress and state public utility commissions that regulate electric utilities should put more emphasis on renewable energy and increased energy efficiency … and less emphasis on major investments in new nuclear, coal and natural gas plants.” This included 58 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 86 percent of Democrats.

“These results show that people all over the country want clean energy and it’s time for Kentucky to catch up with other states to make cleaner energy affordable and accessible to people who want to invest in that,” said Amanda Fuller, a KFTC member in Louisville.

“Renewable Portfolio Standards and feed-in tariffs are two initiatives that we can do right now that don’t cost our state any money,” Fuller pointed out. Those initiatives were included in the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, legislation that received a hearing but no vote in the recently adjourned session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed that “(t)he energy industry's extensive and well-financed public relations, campaign contributions and lobbying  machine is a major barrier to moving beyond business as usual when it comes to America’s energy policy.”

listen to the people sign

“We’re losing jobs,” Fuller said, noting that the contractor who installed solar electric and solar hot water systems on her house is challenged to find enough work to stay in business. “There are skilled people who have the technical backgrounds who are out of work because we don’t have the policies that support clean energy.”

An independent study released in January concluded that passage of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act would result in 28,000 new jobs in Kentucky over the next 10 years.

The clean energy survey was conducted by phone March 22-25 by ORC International for the Civil Society Institute. Respondents were 506 men and 513 women 18 years of age and older.

The questions went well beyond a simple "Do you favor or oppose ____ policies" often taken in such surveys, explained Pam Solo, president of the Civil Society Institute. She said the results show how deeply Americans understand what's at stake in our energy decisions.

A report with the survey findings is available here.

May 10, 2012

Clean Energy Opportunity Act Video Is Up!

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 10, 2012 11:34 AM

Interested in learning more about the primary bill that KySEA supports - the Clean Energy Opportunity Act? View a video podcast of the "Introduction to the Clean Energy Opportunity Act" webinar KySEA hosted on January 19th, 2012 here.

May 08, 2012

Upcoming Solar Energy Workshops

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 08, 2012 02:33 PM

The Kentucky Solar Partnership and Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest, with the support of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), Johnson Controls, Inc., the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service, and Kentucky State University, present a series of introductory and advanced training classes on solar photovoltaic system design and installation practices.
 
Full workshop descriptions and registration information can be found at www.kysolar.org. Financial support with low-interest loans covering up to 100% of registration fees plus grants for travel expenses is available to residents of eastern Kentucky, thanks to the support from MACED.
 
Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics
May 8-9, 2012           
8:30 am – 5:00 pm            
Fee:   $275
Instructor: Chris LaForge, ISPQ Certified PV Instructor
      NABCEP Certified PV Installer
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601
 
Solar Site Assessments and PV System Design       
May 10, 2012
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Fee:   $140
Instructor: Chris LaForge, ISPQ Certified PV Instructor
      NABCEP Certified PV Installer
Prerequisite: Introduction to Photovoltaics or equivalent prior training or experience
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601
 
Solar Photovoltaics & the National Electric Code
May 11, 2012
8:00 am – 4:00 pm            
Fee:   $140
Instructor: Chris LaForge, ISPQ Certified PV Instructor
      NABCEP Certified PV Installer
Prerequisite: Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics or equivalent prior training or experience
(Code officials require no prerequisites)
For Installers, Code Officials, Inspectors, and Building Professionals
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601

Introduction to Solar Water Heaing
June 5-6, 2012
8:30 am – 5:00 pm each day      
Fee:   $275
Instructor: Bill Guiney, Director of Solar Heating & Cooling, Johnson Controls, Inc.
Prerequisite: none
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601 

Solar Industry Trends & New Technologies
June 7, 2012
8:30 am – 12:00 pm            
Fee:   $100
Instructor: Bill Guiney, Director of Solar Heating & Cooling, Johnson Controls, Inc.
Prerequisite: none
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601


Advanced Solar Photovoltaics Hands-On Installation Training
July 10-12, 2012               
8:30am – 5:00 pm each day          
Fee:   $415
Instructor: Chris LaForge, ISPQ Certified PV Instructor
      NABCEP Certified PV Installer
Prerequisites: Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics or equivalent prior training or experience.
Location: Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office
101 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, KY 40601

To learn more, contact the Kentucky Solar Partnership at 502-227-4562 or solar@kysolar.org.

NABCEP Training Hours: Participants will earn training hours to use towards the eligibility requirements for the NABCEP Solar PV Installer certification exam.

CEU’s available for Kentucky licensed Master Electricians and Electrical Electricians for Introduction to Solar PV; Solar Site Assessments and PV System Design; and Solar PV and the National Electric Code.
 

Legislature again passed up chance to help farmers cut energy costs

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 08, 2012 02:23 PM

By Adam Barr, member of Community Farm Alliance

http://www.kentucky.com/2012/04/09/2144427/legislature-again-passed-up-chance.html#storylink=cpy


Kentucky's legislature missed a great opportunity in this year's session to help farmers and rural communities.

As both a seventh-generation family farmer and a young farmer in Meade County, I know firsthand that energy has increasingly become an important and costly factor in our operation. We use energy every day on the farm. Energy is the fuel for our tractors and trucks. It is the electricity that runs our irrigators and refrigerators, and it lights our barns and homes. And these days especially, the cost of using energy adds up quickly.

Things are beginning to change. Increasingly, farmers like me see the opportunity to turn energy into an on-farm asset instead of being an off-farm liability.

For instance, on my farm we have used Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund grant money to power our irrigation pumps with solar energy.

Kentucky could do so much more to help farmers and rural communities offset energy costs. We could even turn energy into another farm product.

I, and the other members of Community Farm Alliance, endorsed House Bill 167 and House Bill 187, as a reasonable way to create new jobs in our rural communities and put Kentucky on track for a secure energy future.

HB 167 would have set modest goals for renewable energy use and energy efficiency in Kentucky similar to what 29 other states have already done. It also would have provided market incentives that help farmers like me become energy producers, making my family farm more profitable and Kentucky more energy secure.

HB 187 would have expanded Kentucky's net metering law from its 30-kilowatt limit to increase the ability of businesses, schools, local governments and farmers like me to produce their own power.

Net-metering allows Kentuckians to connect renewable energy systems like biomass, solar, wind or hydroelectric to the electric grid. When a system generates power, some or all of it is used on-site. Any excess flows back to the grid and is credited to the customer's account. Customers do not get paid for producing excess power.

That bill also would have allowed us to partner with investors to produce our own power, something that cash-strapped farmers could really use.

Regrettably, both bills once again received a "for discussion-only" hearing in the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee.

This missed opportunity is upsetting. As my generation looks to the future, too many of our leaders appear to be stuck in the past.

May 01, 2012

Cincinnati Transitions to 100% Renewable Electricity

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 01, 2012 11:41 AM

More than 50,000 commercial and residential electricity users in Cincinnatians hired a new electricity company this week - one that aims to power the city on 100% clean energy.

Cincinnati is the first city in Ohio and the first of its size to move to 100% clean energy. The city's manager expects the average eligible household's bill to decrease by $133 as a result.

The customers will leave Duke Energy, which relies heavily on coal-burning power, and go to First Energy Solutions. A portion of the city's power will now come from local renewable sources, such as rooftop solar and solar power from the Cincinnati Zoo Solar Canopy project and the rest will come from renewable energy credits. Ohio has local renewable energy projects to provide electricity in part because of its state Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - a policy similar to the one KySEA supports passing in Kentucky.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are generated when renewable energy comes online in the grid somewhere else and First Energy Solutions will purchase them in the amount needed to offset the remainder of the city's electricity use. RECs are a market mechanism that supports the growth of renewable energy projects.

When given a choice on the ballot last year, Cincinnati residents overwhelmingly voted to allow the city to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents. This enabled the city to drop its contract with Duke and to find a new provider. Ohio's utility market, unlike Kentucky's, is largely deregulated, allowing such a ballot effort to go forward.

Read more here.

 

Apr 17, 2012

The myth of baseload power

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 17, 2012 02:10 PM

The article, "Why baseload power is doomed" by Chris Nelder gives an excellent rebuttal to a myth we hear commonly in Kentucky - that renewable energy cannot replace "baseload" electric power.

The author opens, "A persistent myth about the challenges of integrating renewable power into the grid is that because solar and wind are intermittent, grid operators need to maintain full generation capacity from “baseload” plants powered by coal and nuclear."

But, "The notion that renewables cannot provide baseload power is really an artifact of the way the grid and its regulators have evolved," he says.

(Baseload power generators are large units that provide most of the electricity to the grid. They rarely shut down, providing most of the "base load" of power, hence the name. In Kentucky, these are mostly coal-burning plants. When consumers draw more electricity from the grid than those plants can provide, utilities fire up additional units, usually fueled by natural gas, to provide the extra electricity needed to meet demand.)

In the article, the author describes why much of today's existing grid is not "smart." It grew up around demand, rather than in a planned, logical fashion. Lines went up haphazardly, starting in populations centers and then reaching out to rural areas as demand grew. As the grid grew, so did a very complex system of connecting and regulating it - one which includes several different agencies in each of several overlapping U.S. "grid territories."

This haphazard design makes grid technicians' jobs very tricky and makes them therefore resistant to the type of innovation that is required to bring large-scale renewable energy online.

"Grid operators have one overriding, fearsome task: They must maintain enough supply from this very complex system, within a narrow range of frequencies and voltages, to meet constantly fluctuating demand at all times. Therefore they tend to be risk-averse, preferring to stick with what they know to be reliable, and avoiding innovation.

Before the advent of renewables, generating power was a pretty straightforward task: When demand increased, you just added more fuel to an engine. With renewables, the task is reversed: The engines (wind turbines and solar collectors) ramp up and down of their own accord, and grid operators must adjust to accommodate their output."

So we need to get a smarter grid across the U.S. - one that provides real time information - and use the good models already out there to better predict how and when renewables will output power. It's a dance that we can master if we're willing to try.

"If all generators were able to ramp up and down on demand, and if grid operators were able to predict reliably when and where the sun would be shining and the wind would be blowing, accommodating any amount of power from renewables would be no problem."

Many states and countries successfully integrated large portions of renewable energy into the grid successfully. The author discusses several such examples including Germany and Texas. These places are proving and will continue to prove what is possible while places that hesitate to act are left behind.

We cannot ignore that some sectors of our economy stand to gain if we remain locked into the old system of electric power, but, Nelder says, the facts about what is technically possible remain firmly on the side of renewable energy supporters.

"The attachment to our antiquated architecture of power generation and grid management is simply a failure of imagination and innovation," Nelder concludes.

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