Why did you join KySEA?
Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability

“Among the most important issues today are tackling climate change and transitioning rapidly to a new energy economy that is based on conservation, efficiency, and clean energy.  Our Center joined KySEA to be a part of a network of individuals and groups using their combined resources and voice to effect legislative change in Kentucky. We believe all citizens and the Commonwealth will benefit from a clean energy future that will strengthen the  economy, protect the environment, improve health, and create jobs.”  - Nancy Givens


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Jun 23, 2011

Affordable & Green - Conference Presents What's Possible

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 23, 2011 03:31 PM

More than one hundred Kentuckians including homebuilders, architects, affordable housing providers and interested people from across the state attended the 2011 Green Housing Summit hosted by Kentucky Habitat for Humanity last month to learn about how “green” and “affordable” work together in housing construction and remodeling. Kentucky Habitat for Humanity is a KFTC ally through the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance.
Ginger and MaryKy Habitat’s Sustainable Building Specialist and active KySEA member Ginger Watkins played the lead role in making the summit a success. (Mary Shearer, KyHFH director and Ginger pictured left)
Homebuilder and presenter Kriss Lowry encouraged other builders in the crowd to think “green” for more than just higher-income families. Lowry noted that energy efficient housing isn’t just a nice thing to do - it makes economic sense.

“The lowest income Kentuckians pay the highest bills because their homes are so inefficient. This makes no sense – the more efficient we can make homes, the more money we are putting back into people’s pockets.”

Andy McDonald, director of the Kentucky Solar Partnership, presented about the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance to the crowd, noting that the alliance promotes sustainable energy solutions that are affordable for all Kentuckians. McDonald explained that the policy solution supported by KySEA, known as the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, would require utilities to invest a substantial amount in efficiency upgrades to housing with lower-income families living in them.

What is a zero net energy home?
A home that produces as much energy annually as the inhabitants consume.

How far can “green” go and still be affordable?

Architect, builder and KFTC member Dick Levine, who has decades of local, national and international experience in the design and building fields, reiterated other speakers' comments that that the creation of affordable zero net energy homes across the state should be our shared goal.

“With a net zero energy home, you are taking the home out of the energy equation that the rest of the country and the world has to deal with and that is something,” Levine said.

Jun 21, 2011

Company Considering Wind Turbines in Northern KY

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 21, 2011 10:19 AM

Reposted from: The Associated Press

MAYSVILLE, Ky. — A Florida company is exploring the possibility of building wind turbines to generate electricity in two northern Kentucky counties.

NextEra Energy Resources began conducting studies last year to determine if the turbines would be a good fit for Mason and Bracken counties.

NextEra project manager Adam Rickel said preliminary findings show the area could support wind turbines. Rickel said the company has made contact with local landowners in northwest Mason County and northeast Bracken County as potential hosts for 40 to 70 wind turbines.

"The main thing right now is talking to landowners," Rickel said.

Rickel and other representatives recently attended the Mason County Fiscal Court meeting to talk with local officials and answer questions about the potential project, The Ledger Independent in Maysville reported.

Even after the studies are completed, Rickel said there has to be a market for the energy.

"Eventually we have to sell the power to somebody," he said. "If it's not profitable we're not going to put them up."

NextEra Energy said economic benefits would include more than $180 million investment in Mason and Bracken counties with approximately $32 million in property tax revenue and $17.5 million escalating lease payments to landowners. The economic impact calculations are based on the first 25 years.

Also, an approximate $19 million will be spent on salaries and benefits for eight full-time employees to maintain the turbines after their construction.

Each turbine requires up to an acre and a half of space. The land would be leased for the turbines, but the property could still be used by the landowner for livestock or crops.

The wind turbines stand between 262 and 328 feet tall, according to information from NextEra. The wingspan of the turbine brings the total height to roughly 400 feet. The 40 to 70 wind turbines would produce approximately 100 megawatts of energy, or enough energy to power about 28,000 average Kentucky homes.

Rickel said Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio and surrounding areas are expected to see more development in coming years so those states were evaluated as possible study sites.

Other benefits to the wind turbines are that they produce no air, water or ground pollution, use no water in the generation of electricity and there is compatible land use which preserves existing rural nature and agricultural use, according to NextEra, which is based in Juno Beach, Fla.

Jun 10, 2011

State manufacturers forced to find energy savings

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 10, 2011 01:16 PM

An op-ed from the Lexington Herald-Leader last month. Read it online here.

By Danny Taylor

More than 300 Kentucky manufacturing and related industry professionals gathered in Louisville in late April to discuss the shifting energy industry and steps they can take to control rising energy costs.
What they heard from the governor, legislators, utilities and energy-industry professionals was this: The time is now to analyze where and how manufacturers use energy so they can implement energy-efficiency strategies that put them in the best possible position for a vastly different energy future.

Kentucky has enjoyed electricity prices among the lowest in the nation. Thus, manufacturers traditionally have not carefully managed and controlled their energy consumption. As a result, Kentucky's energy use per industrial customer is the third-highest in the nation, 427 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Deregulation, emerging Environmental Protection Agency regulations and rising industrial electricity rates are forcing manufacturers to look more closely at how they consume energy, according to speakers at the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Energy Conference 2011. Industrial electricity rates in Kentucky have already risen 43 percent over the past five years, according to economic agencies, and some predict they will double over the next decade.

And the EPA is quite serious about rules it proposed in March to cut emissions from coal-burning power plants, rules that are estimated to cost industry $2.8 billion. Attempts by both houses of Congress in early April failed to block the EPA's authority to issue these regulations; the first public hearings are scheduled for May 24-26. The cost of these regulations will be felt acutely in Kentucky, which relies on coal to generate more than 90 percent of its electricity.
Moreover, America's energy grid is stressed by peak demand; major infrastructure overhaul is inevitable. That means more energy price increases.

The good news is that measures to reduce energy consumption, from the factory floor to the administrative offices, can make a real difference in the bottom line. A 2007 report prepared for the governor's office by the University of Louisville and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found minimally aggressive measures can save Kentucky industry an estimated $1.7 billion. More aggressive measures could save more than 26 percent, or $2.9 billion, by 2017.

The minimally aggressive measures include installing pumps, sensors and usage controls; insulating pipes; compressed air management, and optimizing motor systems. More aggressive measures include installing energy information systems that enable monitoring and immediate adjustment of energy usage, and revamping of HVAC systems.

Much of the cost of these measures can be paid for with future energy savings. Pat Appelman of Fort Knox told conference attendees that the bulk of the measures put it in place on the 109,000-acre Army base required little or no up-front cost, and many of them began realizing savings in the first year.

Fort Knox has reduced its energy consumption by 36 percent since 1990 and is now setting the standard for energy efficiency among Army installations across the country.

To get started on energy efficiency, manufacturers must:

■ Get an energy audit to help measure and understand how much, and when, energy is used. That in itself can result in savings as manufacturers begin paying attention to what uses the most energy and comparing that to their rate structure. An audit also will suggest various equipment retrofits and operational adjustments, the amount of energy savings they will achieve and the projected payback period.

■ Engage top leadership and make it accountable for improvements to help usher in the workplace culture change. For example, Ingersoll Rand began with an education program for leadership and a "Treasure Hunt" strategy that employed volunteers to make behavioral changes that others could imitate. The company then completed some easy-to-implement projects. This set the stage for a culture of buy-in for future improvements.

■ Install highly visible measurement systems, such as information screens showing energy usage on the plant floor and in break rooms, or including them as screensavers on company computers. AGC Automotive installed a large dashboard showing "key performance indicators" for employees to see every time they enter the plant. Not only has the information helped improve performance, it also has been useful in demonstrating to potential customers the company's quality-control and cost-reduction strategies.

Through success stories such as these, it has become clear that ongoing improvements in energy efficiency are no longer just an optimistic goal; they have become an urgent necessity for Kentucky manufacturers to remain competitive.


Louisville business supports clean energy solutions

by Erik Hungerbuhler — last modified Jun 10, 2011 12:54 PM
Filed Under:

KYGreenTV recently interviewed Jeff Auxier, Secretary of the Kentucky Solar Energy Society on the roof of Patrick O'Shea's restaurant in Louisville to show off the restaurant's new solar water heater system and to talk about KySEA's efforts to pass clean energy legislation n Frankfort.

Part 1

Part 2

Jun 07, 2011

Proof that Solar Works in Kentucky

by Dan Hoffman — last modified Jun 07, 2011 11:50 AM

By Dan Hoffman, President of RegEN Solar (KySEA member)

Even after two years of running a solar panel installation business, I'm still surprised when I hear people say that solar can't work in Kentucky because it's too cloudy.

Regenen Solar Graphic

I had a few minutes this past weekend and put together this this graphic that shows the daily electric output of a solar panel system we installed in Frankfort, KY in March of this year along with the weather from each day. The system is doing great and producing as expected averaging about 20 kWh per day. As anyone who looks at it can see, even on rainy and cloudy days the solar panels are still producing electricity. Usually about 20% of system capacity. Additionally, this customer's roof angle is less than the ideal 38 degrees to the horizontal so he'll be averaging more over the coming summer months.

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