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Lisa Abbott

Feb 22, 2015

Take action on Clean Energy Bills

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

Please take a moment to contact Kentucky legislators in support of clean energy policies!  The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance will post current legislation as it becomes available.
You can contact lawmakers through the legislative message line (1-800-372-7181) or by sending an email message through the General Assembly's website. You can usually leave multiple messages with just a single phone call.
Thank you for all you do.

Feb 04, 2014

Slides from Clean Energy Webinar

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

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

We are pleased to make those slides available here.

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

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

Jan 18, 2013

Resources about the Clean Energy Opportunity Act

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

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

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

1) Slides from the January 17, 2013 webinar

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

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

Thanks for your interest and good work.

Jan 08, 2013

Making our voices heard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 05, 2012

Radio show in eKY describes benefits of clean energy

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Mar 05, 2012 10:03 AM

A public affairs program on WMMT-FM, a community radio station based in Whitesburg, focused last week on the benefits of clean energy policies that are currently under consideration in the Kentucky General Assembly.

You can listen to the program here.

The talk show features Nathan Hall, a resident and biodiesel entrepreneur in Floyd County, and Matt Partymiller, operator of a solar energy firm based in central Kentucky. The two described ways that stronger state energy policies can create jobs across the state and help families, farms and businesses save money by saving energy.

Thanks to WMMT-FM, Nathan and Matt, and others who called into the program with questions and information.


Nov 30, 2010

Solar manufacturing plant to open in KY

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Nov 30, 2010 04:31 PM

According to a recent article in the Danville Advocate Messenger, a home-grown business has just announced plans to begin manufacturing solar panels in Danville, Kentucky in mid-December.

The company, Alternative Energies Kentucky LLC already has nine employees, and intends to expand to about 25 as production gets underway. The company has already secured $1.125 million in state tax incentives.

Company owner Troy Lay of Harrodsburg stated in the article,

“Cleaner energy is just smart, and we are probably five years behind what a lot of the rest of the world is doing with technology like this.”

Employees of Alternative Energy Kentucky, LLC.


(Photo by David Brock. Pictured are employees of Alternative Energies Kentucky, LLC.)

Nov 17, 2010

Clean Energy Jobs Are Real and Growing!

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Nov 17, 2010 08:39 PM


For a number of years, clean energy jobs in the US have been growing steadily, even in a time of high unemployment and a severe recession. But this good news has often been hard to spot, given the relatively small size of the renewable energy sector and the dreadful shape of the overall  economy.

But now the evidence is pouring in that clean energy jobs are surging. An article posted today on describes the remarkable job growth in most renewable energy fields in 2010, and projects continued strong growth in the year ahead, in part due to investments contained in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

For example, the article states:

"The solar power industry doubled the number of people that worked in the industry from 2009 to 2010, from approximately 50,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2010...In 2011, it is expected to grow the number of (US) jobs in the industry by 26%."

In contrast, in 2006, there were 82,595 people employed in coal mining in the US.

The article cites data from the Solar Foundation showing that solar installations in the US more than doubled in 2010 compared to the year before. "Firms are adding employees in all 50 states and the fastest growing jobs are installers and electricians."

The article also offers a good reminder that public policies matter! For example, it points out that passage of a strong national renewable portfolio standard in Congress could create 420,000 new jobs in the hydropower field alone by 2025.





Nov 05, 2010

Upcoming Forum on Renewable Energy In Kentucky

by Lisa Abbott — last modified Nov 05, 2010 10:40 AM
Filed Under:

KySEA members and other interested individuals are encouraged to register for a one day conference about the opportunities
for job creation in Kentucky through renewable energy.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, November 17 at the Berea College Alumni Building in Berea,Kentucky from 9 am to 3:30 pm.

The event is sponsored by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, the Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky Wind Working Group, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, and Energizing Kentucky (a collaboration among four Kentucky colleges and universities).


According to conference publicity, the program will explore:

* Economic Drivers for Renewable Energy

* Opportunities to develop Kentucky's workforce to meet the industry's current and future employment needs

* Funding and investment opportunities that a clean energy economy might provide

* Challenges for businesses, utilities and consumers


There is a registration fee of $15 that will cover a light breakfast and lunch.

Any questions about this event may be directed to 502-852-0965.

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.”

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.
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Russell ATC Center Wind Turbine Russell ATC Center Wind Turbine

In May 2008, a host of Russell Area Technology Center students and electrical technology instructor Doug Keaton gathered around a 60-foot tall, 1-kilowatt wind turbine to celebrate its opening operation. Using electricity generated by the turbine is just one part of Russell ATC's larger plan to reduce the school's energy costs by 25%.


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