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"ASPI and the Kentucky Solar Partnership are a part of KySEA because we believe a strong and diverse coalition of citizens groups is needed to lead Kentucky’s transition to a sustainable energy economy." -Andy McDonald

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February

Sub-archives

Feb 22, 2012

Feb 28th: Join us in Building Kentucky's Clean Energy Momentum

by Lauren McGrath — last modified Feb 22, 2012 12:55 PM


Kentuckians are ready to reap the benefits of clean energy. Energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions are already working in Kentucky to reduce energy costs, create jobs and improve our health and well-being. But new policies are needed before we can realize the full benefits of this transition.. We can’t afford for Kentucky’s workers, families and businesses to be left behind as other states ramp up their investments in one of the fastest growing sectors of our national economy.

Your voice is needed to urge Kentucky’s General Assembly to pass HB 167, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. 

Solar Capitol InstallHB 167, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, asks utilities in Kentucky to gradually increase the share of their electricity mix that comes from renewables and energy efficiency. A recent study projects that over the next ten years this could create 28,000 net new jobs and result in lower average bills, compared to the “do nothing” scenario. 

Here are two ways you can help support this important legislation:

1) Call the toll-free message line (1-800-372-7181) and leave a message for your state Senator and state Representative. A suggested message is: It’s time to invest in clean energy solutions that can put Kentuckians to work and curb energy costs for families, farms and businesses. Please support HB 167.”

2) Come to Frankfort on Tuesday, February 28 to participate in a lobby day sponsored by the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance. You don’t have to be an expert. We’ll provide materials and a quick orientation in Room 113 of the Capitol Annex starting at 9 a.m. Then you’ll set out in small groups to talk with legislators about the benefits of HB 167 and clean energy solutions. Please let us know if you plan to attend by registering here - https://docs.google.com/a/kftc.org/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHVFd2xkSTJfY2h2cUZSb1JRZHVPemc6MQ#gid=0 

 

More Information:

More information about HB 167 and the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance can be found at www.kysea.org

A factsheet about HB 167 can be found here: http://www.kysea.org/legislative-policy-work

A recent article by Matt Partymiller, operating manager of Solar Energy Solutions, can be found here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/02/14/2067838/ky-voices-encourage-power-companies.html#storylink=misearch

A copy and executive summary of the recent study about the jobs potential of HB 167 can be found here: http://www.maced.org/REPS-release.htm

 

Clean Energy Tour and Reception Held in Frankfort

by Lauren McGrath — last modified Feb 22, 2012 09:50 AM

On February 13, KySEA organized a Clean Energy Tour and Legislative Reception in Frankfort to engage legislators and members of the public about the importance and benefits of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. 

The reception included a presentation by architect Kenny Stanfield about Richardsville Elementary in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the nation’s first net-zero energy public school. Richardsville Elementary was designed to use 75% less energy than a typical school and uses a grid-tied solar photovoltaic system to generate as much power as the school requires each year. Significantly, the school cost 20% less to build than a typical school before adding the solar PV. Even after the PV was added, the school still cost less to build. After more than a year of operation the school is performing as-designed and has no electric bills. The architect estimates that the school district is saving about $150,000 per year on energy bills, as compared to a conventional school.

The reception attracted over 70 participants and 16 legislators and included an awards ceremony honoring those who’ve shown leadership and innovation in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Award recipients included Rep. Rocky Adkins, Kenny Stanfield and Warren County Public Schools (for the Richardsville Elementary School design), and Berea Municipal Utilities & City Commission for the Berea Solar Farm.

Blog by Andy McDonald, Kentucky Solar 

Feb 16, 2012

Clean Energy Solutions Key to Growing KY’s Economy

by Lauren McGrath — last modified Feb 16, 2012 02:35 PM

Kentucky is sitting on a veritable goldmine of clean energy resources waiting to be tapped.  Every corner of the state - from our farmlands to our cities - has the potential to be major players in clean energy, one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the U.S. today.

All we need is a little help from our elected officials. They need to pass the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.  The Act would encourage Kentucky’s power companies to expand clean energy and energy efficiency efforts across the state, creating thousands of new jobs and lowering utility bills for Kentuckians from Paducah to Pikeville.

Matt slideAs the owner of a solar energy company based in Lexington, I have seen first hand how clean energy creates jobs and saves Kentuckians money.  In our 6 years in businesses, we have installed solar energy systems on dozens of homes and multiple other buildings throughout the state.  These systems help lock-in energy prices for our customers who had been facing ever-increasing utility bills.  Thanks to growing demand for solar energy, our company has added eight new employees in the last two years. 

We are just one of many clean energy companies in Kentucky that are expanding operations, creating jobs and helping Kentuckians stabilize and lower their energy bills.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Kentucky’s clean energy job market is nominal compared to surrounding manufacturing states like Ohio and North Carolina that have already passed legislation similar to the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.

Today, Ohio is home to more than 9,000 renewable energy jobs and was second in the nation last year for solar panel manufacturing and installation.  In fact, there are twice as many solar installations in Cincinnati alone as there are in the entire state of Kentucky. Clean energy has been so successful in Cincinnati that the city is considering purchasing 100% of its energy from renewable sources.  Since 2007, North Carolina has added 15,000 clean energy jobs (a 30% increase every year) and created 1,200 new clean energy businesses.

These numbers reflect the U.S. economy as a whole.  According to a recent Brookings Institute report, as of 2010 there were more than 800,000 people employed in the clean energy sector, and during the 2008-2009 economic recession, the clean energy economy grew faster than the U.S. economy as a whole, expanding at a rate of 8.3%.  A 2009 study by Pew Charitable Trusts found that between 1998 and 2007, clean energy jobs grew by 9.1% while overall jobs grew only by 3.7%.  And in 2008, venture capital investment in the U.S. clean energy economy was $5.9 billion, a 48% increase over 2007 investment totals.

Kentucky could get in on this action.  According to report released last month by Synapse Energy Economics, passing the Clean Energy Opportunity Act could create 28,000 new jobs in Kentucky and keep electricity rates 8-10% lower than current projections.

 We don’t have time to lose.  In 2010 alone, Kentucky lost $3.5 million in solar installation contract dollars to out-of-state companies for work done in Kentucky. And of the $12.5 billion in venture capital invested in clean energy from 1998-2007, exactly $0 was invested in Kentucky.

 We cannot allow these business opportunities and jobs to go to other states. We need to keep them where they belong – right here in Kentucky. According to a 2011 study by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, the majority of clean energy jobs are full-time positions that require no more than a high school education.  These jobs also span all types of trades and professions – including construction workers, manufacturers, engineers, IT specialists, and building energy assessors.

Passing the Clean Energy Opportunity Act wouldn’t just create jobs, it would also save Kentuckians millions of dollars on energy bills over the next 10 years due to expanded energy-efficiency efforts.  This would be welcome relief to Kentuckians whose average electricity rates have increased 47% over the past 5 years, and especially to low-income households that spend more than 20% of their income on energy. 

It’s time we get serious about building Kentucky’s clean energy economy and pass the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. We can’t afford NOT to.

 

Matt Partymiller is the Operating Manager of Solar Energy Solutions, a Lexington-based solar energy service provider.

 

Feb 01, 2012

Can weather stripping and caulk help you get healthy?

by Lauren McGrath — last modified Feb 01, 2012 04:09 PM

The answer is yes, according to research compiled and released this week by the health experts and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation.  The “Health Impact Assessment on Coal and Clean Energy Options in Kentucky” is a review of health and scientific data and perspectives from Kentuckians on the specific health impacts – positive and negative – associated with our energy policy options.  Health impact assessments (HIAs) are designed to be tools for government decision makers and other stakeholders when considering public policies that affect our health, but occur outside of the health sector. 

PSHH solar home

 

It turns out that energy efficiency and renewable energies from sources like solar, wind and hydro could have both indirect and direct benefits to public health.  Much of the benefits of efficiency and renewables come in the avoidance of pollution created and released from fossil fuels and their chemical byproducts; pollution that is linked to heart and respiratory diseases, birth defects, developmental disabilities and even tooth decay.   By contrast, wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams do not release any pollution.  But some direct benefits include improved general health and increased productivity from home weatherization and less eyestrain, headaches and other illnesses from energy efficient lighting.  

With health care costs are high and getting higher, and Kentucky is among the least healthy states, we should be looking for every opportunity to improve our health.  Recent polling data shows that Kentuckians want our legislators to prioritize public health improvements.  Energy efficiency and renewable energy reduce pollution that makes us sick, and that’s a powerful reason to support clean energy policies for our state.  

Let’s encourage Kentucky legislators to consider clean energy policies as if our health really matters…because it does!

You can find the HIA at:  http://kyenvironmentalfoundation.org.

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Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Helps Families Thrive Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Helps Families Thrive

People's Self Help Housing has been providing affordable housing opportunities to families in Lewis County since 1982. PSHH knows that "affordability" is defined by more than just the mortgage. If a home is energy inefficient, the utility bills become too high for a low-income family to afford. As a result, PSHH has long-built highly energy efficient homes, helping the families they serve to thrive. PSHH has also recently built some of the first affordable homes in the region with renewable energy systems. Given that so many low-income KY families live in energy inefficient homes, combining affordability, efficiency and renewable energy is a recipe for success that benefits everyone.

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