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"At a time when the price of energy continues to rise, affording to keep homes warm becomes an issue that unites a broad range of families, but the burden is disproportionately devastating to low-income residents. MHC is dedicated to ensuring safe, fair and affordable housing choices for all residents, which includes utility costs."

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KySEA Blog

Jul 05, 2011

Upcoming Solar Photovoltaic Trainings in Frankfort, Kentucky

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jul 05, 2011 12:22 PM

The Kentucky Solar Partnership and Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest, with the support of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), 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 covering up to 100% of registration fees plus expenses is available to residents of eastern Kentucky, thanks to the support from MACED.
 
Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics
August 16 – 17, 2011             
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       
August 18, 2011
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
August 19, 2011
8:30 am – 5:00 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
 
Advanced Solar Photovoltaics Hands-On Installation Training
October 24 – 28, 2011               
8:30am – 5:00 pm each day          
Fee:   $825
Instructor: Chris LaForge, ISPQ Certified PV Instructor
      NABCEP Certified PV Installer
Prerequisites: Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics or equivalent prior training or experience.
 
During this workshop an off-grid solar PV system will be installed on an environmental education trailer used by Kentucky State University’s Land Grant Program to educate school children throughout Kentucky. Under the guidance of Chris LaForge, participants will begin with the design of the system and work through the process of sizing the PV array, battery bank, and other components based on the client’s needs and project constraints. Participants will then install the full system, including the PV array, batteries, charge controller, and all balance of system equipment. The instructor will provide guidance and instruction throughout the week during all steps of the process.

Attendance is limited to 12 people. Register early to reserve your place.  To Register: The Registration Form is available at www.kysolar.org or by calling 1-888-576-6527.

Location: Kentucky State University, Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families, 1525 Mills Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601

Financial Support is available to residents of Eastern Kentucky based on need and can cover up to 100% of registration fees plus travel expenses (lodging, mileage, and meals).

To learn more, download the Workshop Financial Support Application here or 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. Each workshop provides 7 training hours of instruction per day.
 
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.
 
For more information visit www.kysolar.org.

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.

May 27, 2011

Register Soon for the Kentucky Habitat For Humanity Green Housing Conference

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 27, 2011 11:35 AM

WHAT: Green Housing Conference

WHEN: Monday June 13th and Tuesday June 14th

WHERE: Fayette County Extension Facility, 1140 Red Mile Place  in Lexington

COST: $25 for KySEA allies

Kentucky Habitat For Humanity, a member of the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance, will host an amazing 2-day conference on green housing at the Fayette County Extension Facility in Lexington on June 13th and 14th. The special cost for KySEA allies is $25 for the two days, which includes all meals. Scholarships for travel costs and fees are also available.

The conference, entitled "Beginning With The End In Mind," will feature a wide range of speakers, including policy-makers and technical specialist from in and out of state. This conference focuses completely on the use of sustainable energy and green building techniques in ways that maintain housing affordability. As many know, Habitat For Humanity works successfully with thousands with low-income families each year to provide sustainable, affordable housing.  


Visit www.kyhfh.org or contact Ginger Watkins (ginger@kyhfh.org) to learn more or register for the event.

May 25, 2011

KySEA Members Look Towards 2012

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 25, 2011 02:05 PM

5.24 meeting pic 1Several KySEA members gathered together yesterday to explore what we have learned over the last year of working together as an alliance and to consider what we'll plan for this year.

photo: Dick Watkins and Andy McDonald, representatives of KySEA member groups

There was healthy discussion about the current state of Kentucky's energy landscape and future, as well as reflection about the lessons KySEA learned from the 2011 legislative session, during which KySEA members lobbied and gave powerful testimony in support of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. KySEA agreed to support the the bill again if it is introduced in the 2012 session and began to plot out a course of action in the areas of research, outreach and education, and alliance-building as well.

5.24 meeting pic 2photo: Geoff Young and Subodh Das, KySEA members

KySEA members also got a preview of an outreach presentation we're calling the "Clean Energy Road Show." It covers the basics of what types of clean energy exist in Kentucky and explores their feasibility. It also considers what the obstacles are currently in place to widespread deployment of those resources. 

KySEA will host a webinar about the Clean Energy Opportunity Act and another meeting in the fall. Check this website's calendar or your email for more information!

If your group or church is interested in joining KySEA or hearing a presentation of the "Clean Energy Road Show," email nancy@kysea.org.

 

May 11, 2011

Save the Date: May 24th KySEA Meeting

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 11, 2011 09:35 AM

Join us for a KySEA meeting
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
10 am to 4 pm
Northside Library Branch
1733 Russell Cave Road
Lexington, KY

BRING A BROWN BAG LUNCH!

If you are a new member or haven't been actively involved in the alliance, this is the meeting for you. It's a great chance to learn about KySEA.

During the day, we will discuss changes in the state and national energy landscape, explore Kentucky's renewable and efficiency potential and highlight specific ways you can plug into our alliance strategy for this year.

Please click here to let us know if you plan to attend.

Questions or want to join KySEA? Email nancy@kysea.org.

Apr 28, 2011

Feed In Tarrifs with "TLC"

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 28, 2011 09:25 AM

The Clean Energy Opportunity Act, introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly this year and supported by KySEA, would establish Feed In Tariffs, along with a Renewable and Efficiency Portfolio Standards.

A Feed In Tarriff (FIT) establishes a fixed premium prices for the sale of renewable electricity by using standard long-term contracts.  FITs can apply to / be available to anyone that connects an eligible generator to the electricity grid.  When it comes to renewable energy policies, FITs are the most widely implemented, around the world. 

 As of 2008, 45% of all global wind development and 75% of all world solar wind PV capacity developed under FITs policies. And, 48 nations have them in place.

“Feed In” refers to: feeding electricity into the electricity grid.

“Tariff” refers to: the price paid for electricity.

FITs:
•    Accelerate renewable energy development
•    Establish a long-term commitment to a renewable energy economy

Successful FITs require “T.L.C”:

Common characteristics of successful FITs are transparency, longevity, and certainty or TLC. 

Transparency refers to purchase agreements that use standard offer contracts with established fixed rates. 

Longevity requires long-term (often 10-40 years) power purchase contracts. 

Certainty refers to fixed process, long-term contracts, and access to the grid.  It has also been noted that, in addition to T.L.C, it is important to include rates based on costs - of generating power - plus a reasonable return on investments. 

Who is Eligible?:
Anyone with an eligible renewable energy facility can participate.  Some examples of individuals, as well as groups, that can become eligible to sell renewable energy through these policies include: farmers, homeowners, small and large businesses, non-profits, industry, public agencies, electric utilities, etc. 


How are FIT Prices Set?:
First, the FIT payment level is based on technology.  These prices are subject to change, and will certainly adjust over time.  The costs of FIT payments are passed onto ratepayers through each utility companies’ general rates. 

Advantages:
FIT policies accelerate the development of renewable energy, and lowers the costs and risks for investors (through T.L.C).  They improve, and better maintain, local economy and production by creating an in-state distributed generation, as well as local economic development in all regions of the state.  In turn, this ensures that renewable energy will be developed in-state.  Similarly, these policies also support in-state manufacturing of renewable energy equipment.

Complimentary Policies:
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) set renewable energy production targets that utilities in a state must meet.  Implementing FIT policies alongside a RPS provides a powerful mechanism to achieve these goals.  As mentioned earlier, FIT ensures local economic development and distributed generation.  Complimentary to this, RPS policies ensure that utility companies are proactive in terms of investing in renewables.  If these policies were to be implemented here, locally in Kentucky, economic benefits would certainly be distributed across all regions of the state.  

Global Successes:
Successful FITs can be found in Germany, Italy, and Ontario.  Germany’s implementation of this policy, specifically from the years 2000-2009, created approximately 300,000 jobs.  They were also able to add 20,000MW of wind power, as well as 8,700MW of solar PV, during this period as a result of FITs implementation.

Italy began implemented FITs in 2007.  While Italy’s population is only 1/5 of the size of the U.S. population, they have been able to exceed our solar PV capacity by 1.5 times.   Another result of Italy’s implementation of a FIT includes the installation of 2.4 times more solar PV since 2008.

Finally, Ontario implemented their FIT policy in 2009 and have seen success.  Data collected from November 2010 show that there is over 2,600MW of renewable energy under contract there, at this time.  Their installed PV capacity increased from 2MW to 48MW in one year, also.  It is projected that, by the year 2012, Ontario will have the largest solar PV market in North America.

This information was adapted from a presentation that Andy McDonald, of member groups' Kentucky Solar Partnership and  Appalachia Science in the Public Interest, did during KySEA's Clean Energy Summit in January.

Apr 19, 2011

Solar Panels Light Up Cincinnati Zoo

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 19, 2011 09:20 AM

Re-posted from The Cincinnati Enquirer, article by Mike Boyer

Visitors to the Cincinnati Zoo are marveling at a new sight: Nearly 4 acres of solar panels have been installed over a vast span of the parking lot.

Cincy Zoo Solar PanlesSolar panels installed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden parking lot will generate 20% of the zoo's electricity.

Billed as one of the largest public urban solar displays in the country, the $11 million solar "canopy" will do much more than help control the zoo's utility bills and shelter visitors from the elements when it's turned on in mid-April, developers say.

While it puts solar technology on display, the project also "will help put Cincinnati on the map as a national leader in the adoption and promotion of clean energy," said developer Steve Melink, Clermont County businessman and renewable energy advocate.

Workers finished installing the last solar panels Friday. The project has already sparked calls from more than a dozen zoos from as far away as California and Oregon interested in the project and how it was put together.

Mark Fisher, the zoo's senior director of facilities, planning and sustainability, said it's creating a buzz from visitors as well. "Some people wonder what the heck it is, and those who have heard about it are surprised at how big it is," he said.

According to Melink, the project consists of 6,400 photovoltaic solar collection panels assembled on more than 100 metal arrays, 15 to 18 feet high. They cover about 800 of the 1,000 parking spaces at the zoo's main entrance. The project is designed to produce 1.56 megawatts of electricity, about 20% of the zoo's annual need and enough to power 200 homes.

It isn't the largest solar project in Ohio. The Wyandot Solar farm, a utility-sponsored project near Upper Sandusky, covers about 80 acres and is designed to produce more than 10 megawatts of electricity.
Because the zoo's parking canopies are so public, officials say it will dramatically spur interest in solar here.

"The education aspect is worth a lot," says Raju Yenamandra, vice president at SolarWorld, a German-based company that produced the zoo's solar panels at its plant in Hillsboro, Ore. He thought so highly of the zoo project that he accelerated the delivery schedule for the zoo's solar panels, so the project would be ready this spring.

"When you think of the number of people who visit the zoo (about 1.3 million annually), particularly younger kids, the educational aspect will be fantastic," he said.

Solar canopies, which harness the sun's rays for electricity and provide shelter from its harsh rays, have been popular in warmer climates such as Southern California and Arizona. They're gaining in popularity in other parts of the country in the face of rising energy prices and government incentives to make solar technology more affordable.

"We're bidding multiple projects all over the country," said Dana Rudolph, president of ProtekPark Solar, which fabricated and installed the metal structures holding the solar panels. ProtekPark, a sister company of greenhouse constructor Rough Brothers, has been building parking canopies for about 10 years but lately found solar projects are the fastest-growing part of its business. It recently supplied metal canopies for solar projects at two community colleges in New Jersey.

The Cincinnati Zoo project grew out of a casual meeting between Fisher, Melink and Jeremy Chapman, Melink's business development manager, at a green building conference in Phoenix two years ago.
Fisher, who was looking for opportunities to expand the zoo's growing green profile, said Melink was looking for a signature project to demonstrate its developing solar installation business: "I told them: I have a parking lot."

Melink, which is developing a smaller pre-engineered solar array system for homes and businesses, was intrigued.

"We want to make a difference," he said. "And this was the scale we wanted."

The biggest hurdle was structuring the project's financing.

"It was about 99% financing and 1% engineering," Melink said.
The project relies on financing through a combination of federal New Market Tax Credits and federal energy tax credits through PNC Bank. It relies on cash from the tax credits, sales of electricity over the next seven years to the zoo and selling the renewal energy credits generated by the investment to Akron-based FirstEnergy.

Fisher said that initially the parties couldn't make the deal work financially until the non-profit Uptown Consortium and New York City-based National Development Council agreed to contribute New Market Tax Credits allocated to them toward the project.

Fisher said the project allows the zoo to lock in the price for about 20% of its electricity at about 8 cents a kilowatt hour for the next seven years. The agreement gives the zoo the option to buy the system in the eighth year if it chooses.

 

Note: Ohio passed a statewide alternative energy standard in 2008 that incentizes the use of renewable energy sources, including solar.

Apr 13, 2011

U.S. Slips in Clean Energy Race: Ky Implications

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 13, 2011 03:51 PM

Re-posted from the Public News Service-KY
April 11, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Germany has pushed the United States down a notch in a new report that tracks investments in the clean energy sector.

The U.S. is now third, Germany second and China is number one, according to the report from Pew Charitable Trusts, and the research finds a connection between those investments and strong clean energy policies.



Matt Partymiller, operating manager of Solar Energy Solutions in Lexington, says lack of decisive action by the federal government and particularly by the state of Kentucky means that some clean energy firms are having a hard time securing capital for their products. 

"What we need to see from the government is a clear plan, set forth probably through legislation, that signals what will be happening on their part in clean energy over the next decade.

Mixed signals are what's really driving indecision and uncertainty in the U.S. clean energy market."

Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program, sees fast-growing competition to gather up investment cash, both from the private and public sectors. She wants the report to serve as notice that action must be taken soon to ensure that the U.S. continues to be a major exporter of clean-energy products and technologies.

"

As the size of the industry grows, so do the stakes. Countries are adopting policies and programs to attract investment and create manufacturing opportunities."

And Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, compares the clean-energy race to the Internet race, to make the point that it's important for the United States to be the leader.

"If you can imagine a world - Google, and Twitter, and eBay and Amazon are all Chinese companies - how does that work for the U.S. economy?"

But many Kentuckians wonder how clean energy will work for Kentucky's economy. Matt Partymiller of Solar Energy Solutions says in a state with such heavy ties to coal, green power is unfairly seen as the archenemy of fossil fuels.

But he believes Kentucky ratepayers will benefit from clean energy sources in the future. 

"We now see hydro and wind power at parity or close to parity with many new fossil fuel resources. We need to be making these investments now, to ensure that our electricity prices stay inexpensive over the long run."

The Pew report notes that clean energy investments are up 30 percent globally, and says the U.S. is still seen as a leader in developing the next generation of clean-energy technologies and products.

Click here to read the entire report.

Apr 08, 2011

KySEA Put Clean Energy Solutions "On the table"in Frankfort

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 08, 2011 03:33 PM

"All options on the table is what we're going for," said Rep. Jill York (D) after Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance members gave compelling testimony about clean energy solutions in Frankfort last month.

Throughout the session, legislators discussed the adverse impacts that rising energy bills are having on Kentucky's families, farms and businesses. But House Bill 239, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, championed by Sponsor Mary Lou Marzian (D) and supported by KySEA, was the only legislation heard this year that offered concrete solutions to Kentucky's energy challenges.

The bill was given a discussion-only hearing before the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee, chaired by Rep. Leslie Combs, on March 3rd. 

So far this year, KySEA also:

  • Organized and hosted the first-ever Kentucky Clean Energy Summit for a sold-out crowd of 150 participants.
  • Sponsored a Clean Energy Lobby Day with 40 people lobbying 30 legislators in support of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.
  • Worked with bill sponsor, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, to host a press conference about the bill.

 

As the KySEA mission statement says...

"We believe bold action is needed...to simultaneously address the goals of job creation and entrepreneurship; public health, climate and environmental protection; and poverty reduction and community development."

And, we're working to ensure that bold action happens in Kentucky, sooner rather than later.

What's next for KySEA?

We have learned a lot over the last year and during this last session. And, we have a lot to consider in the coming year, including questions about the alliance, outreach and legislative strategy. We'll be making decisions about these important issues at our upcoming face-to-face meeting.

SAVE THE DATE:  Tuesday, May 24th from 10 am to 4 pm in Lexington - exact location TBA. Email nancy@kysea.org if you have questions.

Mar 26, 2011

Energy Star Conference

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Mar 26, 2011 12:16 PM

"The opportunity to decrease energy use out there is unfathomable. I would like to see everybody in Kentucky in an energy star home – whether it be manufactured or stick built,” said East Kentucky Power Cooperative representative Jeff Hohman in front of a crowd of hundreds. 

Jeff was one of several representatives of the East Kentucky Power Cooperative and EKPC distribution co-ops that attended the Midwest Energy Star Conference  in Lexington on Thursday, March 24th and Friday, March 25th.  EKPC is considering a massive investment in improved residential efficiency in their service area - read about EKPC's new efforts here.

Members of the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance tabled at the conference, which was geared towards helping home builders, contractors and utilities understand the newest developments in energy efficient housing. Topics covered included everything from job training and new product access in Kentucky to federal legislation on the horizon.

Speakers painted an optimistic picture about the potential to save energy and save homeowners money by making existing and new home more efficient in Kentucky and to create jobs in the process.

Check the KySEA blog in coming weeks to learn more about conference topics.


 

 

Mar 08, 2011

Rep. Marzian To Present Clean Energy Bill in Louisville

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Mar 08, 2011 09:03 AM

At tonight's Green Convene meeting in Louisville, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian will discuss the Clean Energy Opportunity Act she has filed to help support energy efficiency, renewable energy, and job creation in Kentucky.  This bill is supported by the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance.  Join us to learn more about the clean energy bill and what we can do to support it.


WHEN: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm (new time!)

WHERE: Clifton Center - Frankfort Room, 2117 Payne Street, Louisville, KY

Coffee and delicious snacks will be provided!

Mar 03, 2011

Clean Energy Bill Heard - "All Options On The Table"

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Mar 03, 2011 08:10 PM

"All options on the table is what we're going for," responded Representative Jill York to testimony provided by House Bill 239 sponsor Mary Lou Marzian and KySEA members in support of the bill.

"All options on the table is what we're going for..." - Rep. Jill York

Representative Leslie Combs, chair of the House Tourism Development and Energy committee where the bill was presented for a discussion only hearing today, set a positive tone for bill testimony in her opening statement. "I like to consider myself open-minded and I am open to all ideas that are for the benefit of the people."

Daymon and JeffJeff Chapman-Crane, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth member and a constituent of Combs from Letcher County, joined a room full of people that attended the hearing to support the bill's discussion. He praised the chairwoman's efforts after the hearing was over. "I was pleased that she was willing to hear this bill and it is a good sign for any legislator from Eastern Kentucky to do this. I complement her leadership."

Pictured (left to right): Archie Fields and Jeff Chapman-Crane

If enacted, House Bill 239 - the Clean Energy Opportunity Act - would establish gradual renewable and efficiency targets that utilities would meet over time and long-term renewable energy price guarantees for renewable energy producers. The bill would also require investments to improve housing efficiency for low-income families.

HB 239 testimony

Above (left to right): Jason Bailey, Jim King, Matt Partymiller, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian

Jim King, Executive Director of the Federation for Appalachian Housing Enterprises, testified about why affordable housing groups across the state support the bill:

"The current course of energy in the Commonwealth is a threat to families in need of affordable housing. If energy continues to rise at the course it is rising now, assuming no changes, the average utility bill will double by 2015. This is a high burden for low-income families - the same families that live in the homes that are the biggest energy users. People are facing an 'eat or heat' situation."

King said that the bill would improve energy affordability for the families that FAHE and other affordable housing groups serve and create local jobs in Appalachian Kentucky.

Matt Partymiller, Operating Manager of Solar Energy Solutions, told legislators just how many jobs would be created and how much money Kentucky could attract if this bill were enacted. He stated that implementing a state REPS is a signal to national and international renewable energy production and manufacturing companies that Kentucky is making in a long-term commitment to a new energy market. And this signal will bring jobs.

Matt slidePartymiller  noted that millions of dollar in contracts for renewable energy installation in Kentucky were awarded to out-of-state companies in 2010 and expects to see the same thing happen this year. He also pointed out that due to commitments to renewable energy that exist at the state level in Ohio and within the TVA utility service area in Tennessee, both states had attracted billions in manufacturing investments in the last two years.

Right: A slide from Matt Partymiller's presentation showing a solar installation at the University of Kentucky

"When you look at the jobs we've lost in construction and manufacturing, this is an opportunity to give some of these workers jobs," bill sponsor Mary Lou Marzian said.     

If we do nothing? "We will continue to see jobs going to other states," Partymiller said. "For all the installations I have done, I have bought parts from OH, IN and TN. It's unfortunate that we don't see the development of these products here in Kentucky."

A couple of committee members had already seen the benefits of renewable manufacturing investments in their districts. Representatives Harmon, McKee, Kim King, Martha Jane King and York pointed out connections they had in their own districts to the issues raised by the speakers.

"I like to brag on Corning in my district." Rep. Kim King said. "They are now making glass for solar panels." A glass and ceramic making company, Corning Inc. is headquartered in Harrodsburg, Ky.

"I am excited for you all to be here," echoed Rep. Martha Jane King. "Hemlock Semiconductor, which makes a raw material for solar panels, is just over the county line from us. Their $2.5 billion dollar investment is spilling over into our counties and bringing jobs and investment. I think we need to look to the future."

Hemlock Semiconductor opened up operations in Clarksville, TN in January of 2009 and is expected to create 900 jobs when fully operational. They were attracted to Clarksville in part due because TVA, the electric utility that serves the area, offers 10-year price guarantees for renewable energy production. These price guarantees - similar to one of the policy mechanisms contained in House Bill 239 - are driving up the use of solar panels in the region.

York said that she had not realized the manufacturing job potential of enacting this type of legislation prior to the hearing. She also said she appreciated the tone set by Rep. Combs and Marzian during the proceedings.

"All options on the table is what we are going for. When we lose the adversarial nature, we can really look at what is on the table."

 

Please consider calling to thank Representative Combs and House Leadership for allowing this discussion to take place.

Call: 1 (800) 372-7181

Message: "Thank you for promoting good discussion about House Bill 239 and the tremendous benefits that clean energy can bring to Kentuckians. Let's work together towards a favorable vote on it next year!"

 

 

Feb 28, 2011

Clean Energy Bill Will be Heard Thursday, March 3rd!

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Feb 28, 2011 11:55 AM

House Bill 239, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, sponsored by Representative Mary Lou Marzian (D), will be heard in committee this Thursday. This bill would jumpstart a state clean energy market and create thousands of new jobs. KySEA supports this bill - learn more about the bill here.  Here is how you can help:

Attend the hearing of, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act...
Thursday, March 3rd. 10 a.m. Frankfort, Capitol Annex, Room 131.

Or, if you can't make the hearing, call the members of the committee where it's assigned in support of the bill. 

Call: 1 (800) 372-7181

Leave a message for members of the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee (Representatives Combs, Harmon, Kim King, Steele, Adams, Bratcher, Clark, Dossett, Edmonds, Flood, Gooch, Greer, Hall, Henley, Kerr, Martha Jane King, McKee, Osborne, Short, Wuchner, and York)

Message: "I support House Bill 239 and am glad the committee is advancing the conversation we need to have about how renewable energy and energy efficiency investments can benefit all Kentuckians by hearing this bill."

 

Read the Lexington Herald Leader's editorial in favor of this bill.

Feb 24, 2011

Clean Energy Opportunity Act - House Bill 239 - Awaits A Hearing

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Feb 24, 2011 10:25 AM

The Clean Energy Opportunity Act, House Bill 239, sponsored by Reprsentative Mary Lou Marzian was assigned to the House Energy and Tourism Development committee. It awaits a hearing there.

The bill would establish a Renewable and Efficiency Portfolio Standard and long-term price guarantees for in-state renewable energy generators. Read more about the bill here.

Please call 1-800-372-7181 and thank House leaders for assigning the bill to a committee where it will be heard and thank Representative Combs for her willingness to hear the bill in committee.

Feb 18, 2011

Letter To Editor in Support of HB 239 In Today's Courier Journal

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Feb 18, 2011 11:18 AM

Written by Jeff Auxier of the Kentucky Solar Energy Society, a KySEA member

I write for the Kentucky Solar Energy Society. We promote efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. Solar works well in Kentucky. While it is not a “magic bullet” for all our energy needs, it can heat your water, warm your home and provide significant electricity. We need all types of energy. What solar can do, it should do.

On Feb. 1, Louisville's Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, introduced House Bill 239. The bill promotes energy efficiency and sets a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). An RPS requires utilities to procure renewable energy. Twenty-nine states have an RPS, including Illinois and Ohio (25 percent by 2025) and Missouri. The TVA has an RPS. West Virginia and Virginia have adopted renewable energy goals.

HB 239 sets a modest RPS of 12.5 percent by 2021. Even a modest RPS jump-starts clean energy, because utilities offer incentives to install systems, and customers jump at the opportunity. Utilities spread the cost (usually around 0.2 cents per kilowatt hours). Installers and maintenance folks establish themselves. A renewable energy industry blossoms.

The industry has already blossomed in nearby states. An Ohio company is set to install a large solar system on a Northern Kentucky school. A Wisconsin company recently installed a large solar hot water system at an Extendicare facility in Richmond, Ky. Companies in these states have scaled up, acquired expertise and are now doing Kentucky's work. Jobs, jobs, jobs — jobs that we are losing.

We must start the transition to a new energy infrastructure. Clean renewable energy promotes good health, builds our economy and aids our national security.

Please support HB 239 and urge your representatives and our leaders to do the same.


JEFF AUXIER
Chairman
Kentucky Solar Energy Society
Louisville 40217

Feb 15, 2011

Clean Energy Lobby Day Participants Tout Benefits of House Bill 239 to Legislators

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Feb 15, 2011 02:23 PM

Forty people, including many KySEA members, participated in a lobby day and press conference in Frankfort on Thursday, February 10th, 2011. Participants touted the benefits of clean energy contained in the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, House BIll 239, to more than twenty legislators with whom they met.

Two legislators - Tom Riner and Tom Burch- agreed to co-sponsor the bill after meetings. The bill, sponsored by Mary Lou Marzian, is already co-sponsored by Representatives Joni Jenkins and Jim Wayne. It has been assigned to the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee where it should have a hearing later this month.

Mary Lou Press ConferenceRepresentative Marzian hosted a press conference that day to present the bill and its benefits for Kentuckians. She said "This bill starts us looking towards the future and many legislators are ready for that."

Marzian discussed the health benefits of clean energy and compared passing clean energy policy to the long-term process of raising tobacco taxes in Kentucky. She mentioned that Kentucky was once known as a "tobacco state" just as many call us a "coal state" now, but state that label will disappear. "Change might take a little while but there will be a tipping point and it will come," Marzian said.

Speakers at the press conference presented how the bill will save Kentucky families money and create thousands of clean energy jobs.

Sherrie Davison, of Frontier Housing in Morehead, Ky, told the story of Betty Ruth Hoage, a 77-year old widow with asthma living on a fixed income of about 10,000 a year. With the help of grant money, Frontier Housing made efficiency improvements on Betty's home that have lowered her utility bills and improved her quality of life, making the home warmer, the air cleaner and lessening highway noise. And, the utility savings more than offset the $34 monthly loan that Betty took on to rehab the home.

"Affordable housing providers support this bill because it devotes more resources allowing low-income homeowners to overcome upfront barriers to efficiency efforts and increases housing stability for families with highest energy burdens. These kinds of improvements can increase the value of their home; decrease energy costs to the homeowner and the community," Davison said.

Matt Partymiller, of Solar Energy Solutions, focused on the job creation potential of House Bill 239 in his comments. "Kentucky should take this opportunity to build on a growing clean energy market and capitalize on newly implemented job training programs across the state by implementing clean energy incentives that lead to career-oriented jobs and business growth. We stand to gain a lot if we do - including, thousands of jobs, including many in manufacturing and millions of investment dollars. Now is the time for Kentucky to get a foothold in this growing economy and if we don't, we are all going to pay for it." Partymiller noted that Kentucky lost $3.5 million in contracts to out of state companies for solar installations done in Kentucky.

Jason Bailey, of the Mountain Association of Community Economic Development explained the bill mechanisms, pointing out that many states nearby to Kentucky have policy mechanisms similar to those contained in House Bill 239 already in place. For this reason, he stated, we know these things can work in Kentucky.

"The Clean Energy Opportunity Act is about recognizing that external change can mean homegrown opportunity for Kentucky, but only if we act early, plan wisely, and design solutions that citizens and business across the Commonwealth can benefit from," Bailey said.

 

Follow this blog to learn more about when a hearing on House BIll 239, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, will take place. Take action today by calling 1-800-372-7181 and send a message to Representative Leslie Combs to thank her for hearing the bill and continuing this important conversation in Kentucky.

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