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Cumberland Chapter, Sierra Club Cumberland Chapter, Sierra Club

"The Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club is dedicated to the goal of moving to a new energy future, one weaned away from carbon-based sources of energy and that defends instead on renewable, sustainable energy sources and that maximizes energy efficiency."


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KySEA Blog

Feb 19, 2010

Support for HB 408 is building!

by Martin Richards — last modified Feb 19, 2010 02:32 PM

HB 408 Adds Three New Co-sponsors

Representatives Mary Lou Marzian (D-Jefferson 34), Jim Wayne (D-Jefferson 35) and Dennis Horlander (D- Jefferson 40) have recently signed on to HB 408. Please call and thank them and encourage your own Representative to support HB 408. To reach your Legislator in Frankfort call 502-564-8100. 

Don't know who you Legislator is go here:

KySEA members lobby in Frankfort

by Martin Richards — last modified Feb 19, 2010 02:25 PM

KySEA members were in Frankfort on Wednesday, February 17 lobbying key legislators and building support for HB 408.

KySEA members from the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Kentucky, the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth spent the day this past Wednesday talking with Legislators to build support for HB 408. The KySEA members were specifically working to add co-sponors to the bill, to get a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee (where the bill has been assigned) or to get the bill reassigned to another committee.


Penny Young, Executive Director of HHCK describes the day, "As a new member of the KySEA, this was an excellent opportunity for us to be able to talk with legislators about the human impact of energy efficiency as it relates to the ability of families to sustain their homes through utilization of clean, affordable enery sources.  Affordability of housing includes cost of utilities as much as the cost of the rent, mortgage, taxes and insurance.  Members of HHCK have already began embracing green building techniques into construction and rehabilitation of homes in Kentucky.  We want Kentucky to be a leader in this field and not be the state that ignores progressive technologies that could have positive results for our future and the futures of our families."


Feb 15, 2010

Writer calls for truth on renewable energy and climate

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Feb 15, 2010 10:20 AM

The Lexington Herald Leader published a strong piece today about renewable energy and climate change written by Jessamine County farmer Henry Riekert. You can find his full commentary here.


Riekert writes:

"Every 45 minutes enough sunlight strikes the Earth to power every home and building in the world for a full year. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that enough energy could be produced by offshore wind farms alone to power the entire country. Incredible, isn't it? All that clean, renewable energy readily available and we're still burning oil and coal...."

And he wonders:

"Why can't the USA do what other countries are doing? As my German grandparents always said, there isn't anything America can't do.Of course, that was then and this is now. We live in an America where corporations are people and money is free speech. Where oil and coal corporations spend millions of dollars every year to kill legislation that threatens their industry and to discredit scientists who sound the alarm. It's an America where members of Congress earmark public money to fossil fuel industries whose profits are measured in billions. Where industry executives tell elected officials which regulators to hire and fire. We've become an America where industry spends millions more every year spreading misinformation and outright lies."


Meanwhile, here in Kentucky, legislation is currently moving forward to a) remove the current ban on nuclear energy in Kentucky, b) create a caucus of legislators whose purpose is to promote the interests of Kentucky's coal, oil and natural gas industries, c) allow utility companies to condemn private lands in order to build pipelines to transport carbon dioxide captured from coal plants, and d) call upon Congress to prohibit the US EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.  


Anyone looking for a terrific source of information about these and other energy bills pending before the Kentucky General Assembly should visit the website of the Kentucky Resources Council. Look on the left side for a link to "bills we are watching."

Feb 09, 2010

Clean Energy Bill Filed by Rep. Harry Moberly: HB 408

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Feb 09, 2010 09:10 PM

(Click here to download a one-page summary of this bill.)

Rep. Harry Moberly (D-Madison County) has filed a bill in the Kentucky legislature that would launch a new, clean energy future for Kentucky. The legislation, HB 408, sets energy efficiency and renewable energy goals for Kentucky in order to grow high quality local jobs, help stabilize long-term energy prices, and promote good health. 


HB 408 requires Kentucky’s utilities to generate 12.5% of their retail sales from renewable sources by the year 2020, up from about 2% in 2007. The bill also asks utilities to develop energy efficiency programs to help customers reduce their electricity use by 10.25% over the next decade. Those targets are similar to goals already adopted in several nearby states, including Ohio and North Carolina. The bill builds on momentum created by the federal stimulus program by providing long-term support for comprehensive weatherization programs that help lower income households save money and energy. A provision called a feed-in tariff also expands incentives for renewable energy production without additional cost to the state budget.


“I’m excited about any policy that helps families save money and energy by becoming more energy efficient,” said Mary Love, a member of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. “This bill provides incentives that can help everyday Kentuckians improve the energy efficiency of our homes. We’ll save money on our power bills, and help create good jobs in all areas of the state. Lowering our energy use also diminishes the need for expensive new power plants, and leads to cleaner air and water and more healthy living conditions for us all.”


“Our organization focuses on providing affordable housing solutions to build better communities and help reduce foreclosures and homelessness,” noted Sherrie Davison of Frontier Housing, based in Morehead. “Home energy costs in Kentucky currently consume more than 20% of annual income for families living at the poverty line, contributing to economic instability and homelessness. The era of cheap electricity is ending, and all Kentucky families need resources, tools and good public policy to make our homes, apartments and manufactured housing more efficient.”


“Contracts and jobs continue go to Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee because the Commonwealth lacks up-to-date public policies,” stated Matt Partymiller, an owner of Solar Energy Solutions, a company that employs 3 people in Lexington. “We need things like a renewable portfolio standard and a feed-in tariff just to be competitive with our neighbors and the incentives they offer for renewable energy development.”


"Feed-in tariffs are guaranteed payments made to people who generate renewable electricity onto the power grid,” explained Andy McDonald, director of Kentucky Solar Partnership. “By guaranteeing payments for renewable power under long term contracts, feed-in tariffs create a stable environment that attracts investment and can produce very rapid development of the renewable energy sector, leading to substantial economic development and job creation. Feed-in tariffs enabled Germany to become the world leader in solar energy, and Germany's renewable energy sector now employs hundreds of thousands of workers."


“We are thrilled that meaningful clean energy solutions are now on the table,” stated Wallace McMullen, who chairs the Energy Committee of the Sierra Club’s Cumberland Chapter. “This is a golden opportunity for Kentucky. We should make the most of it and move forward to a cleaner, more prosperous, and healthier future for our children and the Commonwealth.”


by Martin Richards — last modified Feb 09, 2010 09:04 PM
Filed Under:

House Bill 408 sponsored by Representative Harry Moberly was filed today!

House bill 408 is set to create new standards for Kentucky''s energy future. For a summary of what the bill would create go here on the KySEA website:

To read the actual bill go here:

Feb 07, 2010

Report: A national Renewable Energy Standard Would Create Jobs

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Feb 07, 2010 01:45 PM



For those who haven't yet visited the Appalachian Transition website, take a moment to check it out! The following information was posted there first. We are pleased to share it here as well.


Last week, an organization called RES-Alliance for Jobs released a study called “Jobs Impact of a National Renewable Electricity Standard” conducted by Navigant Consulting, Inc.  The study assess the employment impacts of renewable electricity standards previously proposed in Congress, including targets of 12% renewable energy by 2014, 20% by 2020, and 25% by 2025.

The study found that “the renewable energy industry would support 274,000 more jobs with a 25% by 2025 national RES than it would without a national RES. This additional employment is equivalent to 2.36 million additional job‐years by 2025.”  These jobs would be created in every region of the US, with the Southeastern US gaining in the biomass sector and the Great Plains and Midwest benefiting from expanding wind resources.

52% of the jobs created by 2025 would be manufacturing-oriented, 23% construction and craft trades, and 11% engineering and professional technical services jobs.  These manufacturing jobs, the study says, are particularly well suited to be created in areas with an existing, if dormant, manufacturing base—such as Kentucky, Tennessee, and other Southeastern states.

The study also evaluated the job impacts of not having a national RES, finding that many states would shed jobs in the manufacturing and renewable energy sectors without a policy in place to drive markets.  Navigant attributes this to the fact that manufacturers will seek out proximity to long-term markets; states that do not currently have renewable energy targets in place are not likely to create such long-term markets and therefore could lose jobs in what constitutes an emerging renewable energy sector currently.

Some of the biggest hurdles facing renewable energy companies right now include the inconsistency in markets and incentives.  Navigant found that “On-again, off-again short-term tax credits do not guarantee a long-term market for renewable electricity.”  The current Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), and other such credits, falls into the category of on-again off-again as they must be renewed annually—or for a few years at a time—by Congress.  This does not provide the stability companies need to make the kinds of investments in manufacturing facilities that will drive long-term job growth.

A strong national RES, however, would guarantee a long-term market for renewable energy and thus “is more likely to support more American manufacturing jobs than several short-term tax credit extensions would because companies will locate manufacturing facilities in regions with long-term demand.”

As both Virginia and Kentucky state legislators consider statewide renewable energy legislation during the current sessions, the need for strong policy leadership—at both the national and state levels—to capture these potential job opportunities is made increasingly clear.

Jan 31, 2010

Messaging that works on climate and energy

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Jan 31, 2010 12:45 PM


Here's one story about strategic messaging that everyone concerned with advancing good energy policies should read. Or, as KySEA participant Tona Barkley said last week, "We should tattoo this information on our wrists!"


Frank Luntz, a well-known Republican pollster who designed communications strategies to defeat environmental initiatives in the 1990's, recently issued a report about messages that resonate with Americans about climate change and energy policies. Here are the punch lines:


  • A substantial majority of Americans (including majorities in both major parties) accept the reality of climate change and want to make progress in addressing it.
  • What the public wants are "forward looking, no-regrets solutions."
  • The focus of messaging should be on the benefits of taking action.
  • The four benefits the public values most are: energy independence, good health, American jobs, and accountability for businesses and corporations.


The final slide in Luntz's report proposes that people begin using the following basic messages:


If we do it right, we get cleaner air.   

We get less dependence on fossil fuels and enhanced national security.

We get more innovation in our economy.
More jobs, and more sustainable jobs.
And that’s if the scientists are wrong.
If the scientists are right, we get all of those things, and begin to solve what could be the most catastrophic environmental problem that any of us have ever faced.
That’s a pretty good bet to make -- because it’s a ‘No Regrets’ strategy.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it means if we do it, and do it right, we get all of those benefits out of this policy approach. We think that’s why it’s the right thing to do.


What do you think?

Kentucky Power to raise rates by 35%

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Jan 31, 2010 11:25 AM

AEP logoA number of Eastern Kentucky residents, businesses and elected officials are voicing concern over Kentucky Power’s recent request to raise rates by 35%.  Kentucky Power is part of American Electric Power and serves 175,000 customers across 20 eastern Kentucky counties.

Louisa Mayor Teddy Preston was quoted in the Ashland Daily Independent as saying, “It’s the wrong time. People can barely make it on Social Security. I can understand a smaller rate hike, but not 35 percent.” The mayor also stated on local radio programs that the impact on the city’s budget would be significant, since the community’s water and sewer plant, along with other properties, currently use about $10,000 in electricity each month.

If approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, the bill for an average Kentucky Power residential customer would rise from the current price of $114.57 to $154.62. This is based on a monthly usage of about 1,400 kilowatt-hours.

Kentucky Power’s rate request is similar to rate hikes that the parent company AEP has requested in neighboring states. In August of 2008, AEP explained that it was seeking a 45% rate increase for its Ohio customers to cover sharply rising coal prices. “The fact is that coal has doubled in cost in the last year alone, dramatically affecting AEP Ohio’s costs,” an AEP executive said in a statement at the time.

The recent move by Kentucky Power is part of an overall trend among electric utilities in Kentucky, which together produce about 92% of their power by burning coal. Historically, coal has been relatively inexpensive fuel, giving Kentucky an economic advantage. But Kentucky’s residential, commercial and industrial customers are now seeing their utility bills rise due to many factors, including the increasing costs of purchasing fuel, building new power plants, and managing coal’s environmental impacts.

A 2008 USA Today article discussed how these factors were causing utility prices in West Virginia and Kentucky to rise faster than the national average. Industry analysts were quoted in the article saying that residents of coal-dependent states should expect additional rate increases even before the passage of expected carbon regulations. The article closed with a quote from an American Electric Power executive, who stated, “There not a whole lot of reason why the prices would start to temper.”

These trends are an important reason why the member groups of the KY Sustainable Energy Alliance are working to diversify Kentucky's energy portfolio and increase investment in energy efficiency programs. It is time to ramp up efficiency efforts that are already proving successful in other states to help residents and businesses save energy and money.

Council to develop a climate action plan for Kentucky

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Jan 31, 2010 11:00 AM

Here's the clip from Mead's article:


"The (Ky Climate Action Plan) council includes Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry (who sent a representative in his place Thursday), and state and federal officials. It also includes people from the coal, aluminum, lumber and automobile industries, and two or three people who could be identified as environmentalists. That didn't escape Tona Barkley, a member of the Frankfort Climate Action Network, who sat through the 51/2-hour meeting to speak during a public comment period at the end. She said that the council was a great idea but added that she would like to see more environmentalists on it."

The Council's task is to "Identify opportunities for Kentucky to respond to the challenge of global climate change while becoming more energy efficient, more energy independent and spurring economic growth." The group's work will be supported by a consulting organization called the Center for Climate Strategies. According to materials prepared by CCS:

  • From 1990 to 2005, Kentucky's emissions increased at double the national rate.
  • Kentucky emissions rose 33 percent during the period; nationwide, emissions rose 16 percent.

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development is the only member group of the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance to have a representative appointed to the 32 member Council.

The formation of the Council was discussed on a recent KySEA conference call. Several individuals and groups are planning to circulate a letter urging the expansion of the Council to include additional representation, including from affordable housing groups, environmental organizations, and local climate action planning groups.

Jan 18, 2010

Indiana Legislator Introduces Feed-in Tariff Bill

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jan 18, 2010 02:55 PM


From Renewable Energy World 
comes this interesting news:

On January 7, 2009, a key legislator in Indiana introduced a proposal to establish a comprehensive system of “feed-in tariffs,” designed to spur the rapid development of jobs and in-state renewable energy generation.

A feed-in tariff is a fancy name for a guaranteed rate that utility companies can be required to pay for approved types of in-state renewable energy generation. This approach has been used successfully in many places to encourage private investment in renewable energy facilities and systems. The costs are covered by a small charge on all utility customers bills.
Sustainable energy legislation, including a proposed feed-in tariff, is expected to be introduced in Kentucky during the 2010 legislative session. More information about the concept of feed-in tariffs is available in this white paper commissioned by the Kentucky Conservation Committee.

The legislation proposed in Indiana has a number of unique features. The bill would provide different rates for renewable energy projects that qualify for federal incentives and those that don’t – a provision that helps non-profits and individuals who can’t benefit from large income tax credits because their incomes aren’t large. It also contains a system of different rates for wind energy that is based on the quality of the wind resource in a particular area. This is intended to spread development of wind turbines across the state and avoid concentrations in only the windiest areas. There is also a special rate for small residential-scale wind turbines. The legislation establishes guaranteed rates for a range of wind, solar, hydro and biomass technologies, excluding biomass from forestry and coal-bed methane gas.

Jan 07, 2010

KySEA Blog: a new resource for learning, sharing and action.

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jan 07, 2010 11:40 AM

An introduction to the purpose of the KySEA blog.

Welcome to the first blog post of the brand new Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance! We hope this space serves as a valuable resource to individuals, organizations, businesses, congregations and others who want to help move Kentucky towards a clean energy future.

Here’s a little preview of what you can expect to find on this blog in the future:

  • Profiles of people, organizations, businesses and local governments who are putting clean energy solutions to work in Kentucky.
  • Updates about sustainable energy policies being considered in the Kentucky General Assembly, including opportunities to take action!
  • Discussion of new studies and information about sustainable energy policies, programs, and practices that are relevant to our challenges and opportunities in Kentucky.
  • Discussion of federal energy policies and their potential impact on Kentucky’s economic, environmental and energy future.

We encourage your comments and submissions. Anyone with a tip or idea for a blog entry is welcome to email

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