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May 09, 2014

General Assembly 2014 Wrap-Up

by Erik Hungerbuhler — last modified May 09, 2014 12:09 PM
Filed Under:

The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up on April 15, and KYSEA is proud to report that we had an excellent session building support, mobilizing citizen lobbyists and advancing the conversation around clean energy in Kentucky. Though our first attempt at a Lobby Day was snowed out, several folks were able to safely make it to Frankfort and held many positive meetings with legislators. This momentum kept going during our rescheduled lobby day on February 26 in support of our bill, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian. Between the two lobby days, nearly 40 KYSEA representatives spoke with 44 legislators and received more support than we ever have in the past. The jobs and economic opportunities in clean energy, particularly energy efficiency, are gaining traction.

The information-only hearing on our bill was held on March 6 before the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee.  Chairman Keith Hall gave us nearly the entire hearing to testify on what this bill will bring to Kentucky. Afterwards, Rep. Hall spoke with us at length about how important energy efficiency is to his constituents in Eastern Kentucky.

Thanks to everyone who lobbied hard for this bill and helped to make our hearing so successful. We know that next year will be even better!

There were several other energy-related bills that KYSEA tracked during the session.

In the House:

  • HB 52: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB 63: Would require a 30-day supply of fuel on-site for power plants. Since it’s difficult to store natural gas on-site, this was a bill to support the coal industry. It received a hearing but no vote.
  • HB 291: Increases public participation and clarifies setbacks for the siting of electric facilities. Became law.
  • HB 388: Allows the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to set emissions reductions standards for coal-fired power plants, rather than the federal EPA. Became law.
    Note: This was a “just-for-show” bill because state law cannot supersede federal law.
  • HB404: Would establish a structure for Property Assessed Clean Energy projects, which allows for commercial retrofits to be paid back through property taxes. Passed the House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
  • HB535: Would raise the net metering limit from 30kW to 500kW. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB489: Would allow smaller Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) to participate in state projects. Did not receive a hearing.
  • HB573: Essentially would require the Public Service Commission to review the proposal to close of the Big Sandy coal-fired power plant. Passed out of Committee but did not receive a hearing on the House floor.

In the Senate:

  • SB67: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Passed in the Senate but did not receive a hearing in the House.
  • SB153: Allows for use of state pollution prevention funds as a match for federal funds to provide technical assistance for energy efficiency projects.  Became law.

We are excited for the opportunities the next legislative session will bring. As always, we invite you to get involved with KYSEA and share your thoughts and ideas for bringing clean energy policy to Kentucky.

Mar 03, 2014

Hearing on HB195, March 6, 2014

by Lane Boldman — last modified Mar 03, 2014 04:48 PM
Filed Under:

There will be a hearing of the Clean Energy Opportunity act on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 10:00 in room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Coalition groups will be working to have their members in attendance, so please join us!

Jun 19, 2012

Kentucky Has Significant Distributed Renewable Energy Potential a new report finds

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 19, 2012 09:50 AM

Released 6.19.12

New Report Findings for Kentucky: 
Distributed renewable energy systems could generate up to 34 percent of Kentucky’s electricity by 2025


Frankfort, KY - Distributed renewable energy systems could generate up to 34 percent of Kentucky’s electricity by 2025, finds a new report authored by Downstream Strategies. According to the report findings this new generation would increase energy security in the state, diversify Kentucky’s energy portfolio, and curb energy costs for Kentucky ratepayers.

“Electricity prices have gone up 41% over the last 5 years and will continue to rise, threatening low-income families' ability to stay in their homes. We at Kentucky Habitat are not meeting our mission if a family can afford to buy a new home, but then down the road cannot stay in it due to rising utility costs,” says Ginger Watkins, Sustainable Building Specialist with Kentucky Habitat For Humanity. 

“The report outlines a series of practical solutions that are already out there.  Already we’re leveraging some of these solutions in our work, for example Morehead Habitat built a home with heating and cooling costs below $15 per month.  Affordable, quality, low-energy homes in Kentucky are not only possible, they’re already happening”.

Unlike traditional, centralized electricity generation like coal-burning power plants, distributed energy systems, such as solar panels on homes and businesses, generate electricity in smaller amounts for use close to the source. In addition to being clean sources of power, these systems reduce the amount of electricity lost through transmission and reduce the risk of blackouts.

“The Opportunities for Distributed Renewable Energy in Kentucky,” produced by Downstream Strategies of Morgantown, WV, finds that with the right policies in place, Kentucky can provide a significant portion of its electricity through small-scale wind, solar photovoltaics and solar heating and other distributed renewable energy technologies such as combined heat and power systems.

“Our study found that Kentucky has a wealth of renewable energy resources that can be harnessed today using proven and cost-competitive technologies,” said Rory McIlmoil, lead author of the report. “If Kentucky were to implement the policies we recommend, these resources could provide a significant amount of energy while diversifying local economies by generating thousands of local jobs. Kentucky is falling behind other Appalachian states such as Ohio in taking advantage of these opportunities.”

Policies like renewable portfolio standards, expanded net metering, feed-in tariffs and updated grid interconnection standards will make developing distributed renewable energy systems much more achievable and profitable for Kentucky's electric cooperatives, businesses and individuals. The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance has supported the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, which would advance policies aimed at boosting distributed energy, in the last two legislative sessions.

"The US market for solar photovoltaics doubled in 2011, driven by states like New Jersey and California with strong policies to support renewable energy and distributed generation,” said Andy McDonald, Director of the Kentucky Solar Partnership. “Kentucky should take advantage of the great opportunities outlined in this report to advance solar in our state by passing similar policies. Large scale investments in renewable energy would create thousands of new employment opportunities in manufacturing, sales, installation and other industries."
For more information about these policies, visit www.kysea.org.

Download the report here.


You are invited to join lead author of the report, " Rory McIlmoil, for a presentation about the report's findings.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
7:30 -8:30 pm EDT
(No RSVP necessary)
Call: 1-866-740-1260
Access code: 8931147.
Online address: www.readytalk.com
Access code: 8931147. Put this into the box that says “Participant: Join a Conference”.


Jun 16, 2012

Join Us: "Kentucky's Distributed Energy Potential" Presentation

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 16, 2012 03:15 PM

Participate in a KySEA-sponsored webinar on Kentucky's Small-Scale Renewable Energy Potential.

June 21st, 2012
7:30 -8:30 pm EDT


Join us as Rory McIlmoil from Downstream Strategies presents the findings in his report, "The Opportunities for Distributed Energy in  Kentucky." The report finds that there are sufficient in-state renewable energy resources to provide the annual equivalent of 34% of the state’s electricity generation from small-scale distributed energy technologies alone by 2025.

No RSVP necessary.
Call: 1-866-740-1260
Access code: 8931147.

Online address: www.readytalk.com
Access code: 8931147. Put this into the box that says “Participant: Join a Conference”.

May 30, 2012

Bipartisan Majority Want Clean Power

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 30, 2012 02:13 PM

Republished from Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a KySEA member.

A new national survey shows overwhelming and bipartisan support for clean energy policies that go far beyond what is currently in place, especially in Kentucky.

More than 80 percent of the 1,019 people asked agreed with the statement: “The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future.” The favorable response included 69 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats.

green energy our future sign

The survey further defined that policy as “one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans.”

“It is apparent that Americans overwhelmingly favor clean and renewable energy,” said Steve Sanders, director of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, which co-released the survey findings in Kentucky with the Civil Society Institute and KFTC. “For Kentucky, that means we must plan now for a future which is much less dependent on coal as a source of electric power.”

Nearly as many respondents (75 percent) agreed that “Congress and state public utility commissions that regulate electric utilities should put more emphasis on renewable energy and increased energy efficiency … and less emphasis on major investments in new nuclear, coal and natural gas plants.” This included 58 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 86 percent of Democrats.

“These results show that people all over the country want clean energy and it’s time for Kentucky to catch up with other states to make cleaner energy affordable and accessible to people who want to invest in that,” said Amanda Fuller, a KFTC member in Louisville.

“Renewable Portfolio Standards and feed-in tariffs are two initiatives that we can do right now that don’t cost our state any money,” Fuller pointed out. Those initiatives were included in the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, legislation that received a hearing but no vote in the recently adjourned session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed that “(t)he energy industry's extensive and well-financed public relations, campaign contributions and lobbying  machine is a major barrier to moving beyond business as usual when it comes to America’s energy policy.”

listen to the people sign

“We’re losing jobs,” Fuller said, noting that the contractor who installed solar electric and solar hot water systems on her house is challenged to find enough work to stay in business. “There are skilled people who have the technical backgrounds who are out of work because we don’t have the policies that support clean energy.”

An independent study released in January concluded that passage of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act would result in 28,000 new jobs in Kentucky over the next 10 years.

The clean energy survey was conducted by phone March 22-25 by ORC International for the Civil Society Institute. Respondents were 506 men and 513 women 18 years of age and older.

The questions went well beyond a simple "Do you favor or oppose ____ policies" often taken in such surveys, explained Pam Solo, president of the Civil Society Institute. She said the results show how deeply Americans understand what's at stake in our energy decisions.

A report with the survey findings is available here.

May 01, 2012

Cincinnati Transitions to 100% Renewable Electricity

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified May 01, 2012 11:41 AM

More than 50,000 commercial and residential electricity users in Cincinnatians hired a new electricity company this week - one that aims to power the city on 100% clean energy.

Cincinnati is the first city in Ohio and the first of its size to move to 100% clean energy. The city's manager expects the average eligible household's bill to decrease by $133 as a result.

The customers will leave Duke Energy, which relies heavily on coal-burning power, and go to First Energy Solutions. A portion of the city's power will now come from local renewable sources, such as rooftop solar and solar power from the Cincinnati Zoo Solar Canopy project and the rest will come from renewable energy credits. Ohio has local renewable energy projects to provide electricity in part because of its state Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - a policy similar to the one KySEA supports passing in Kentucky.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are generated when renewable energy comes online in the grid somewhere else and First Energy Solutions will purchase them in the amount needed to offset the remainder of the city's electricity use. RECs are a market mechanism that supports the growth of renewable energy projects.

When given a choice on the ballot last year, Cincinnati residents overwhelmingly voted to allow the city to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents. This enabled the city to drop its contract with Duke and to find a new provider. Ohio's utility market, unlike Kentucky's, is largely deregulated, allowing such a ballot effort to go forward.

Read more here.

 

Apr 13, 2012

In the news...

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Apr 13, 2012 01:08 PM

Solar manufacturing jobs come to Edmonson County, KY
Taggart Solar LLC recently announced that it plans to locate a manufacturing plant in Edmonson County. A $440,000 investment, the plant will sustain 30 full-time workers. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides electricity to Edmonson and several other Kentucky counties, offers large financial incentives for renewable energy production in it service area. These incentives make it more attractive for solar manufacturing companies to locate there.

Kentucky Center to install Green Roof
The Kentucky Center for the Arts plans to “green” its 76,000 square foot roof quite literally. It will be covered with a special type of soil and sedum plants, which soak up water and provide insulation lowers air- conditioning bills. Center staff hopes to implement a pubic education project along with the new roof. An estimated 500,000 people visit the center each year.


U.S. Department of Defense Spends Big on Clean Energy
The U.S. Department of Defense invested billions in clean energy innovations between 2006 and 2009 – an increase of nearly 200% from pre-2006 spending levels. Projects include major efficiency efforts and large renewable installations at bases. For example, DoD is partnering with Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative to make efficiency improvements and install solar and geo-thermal systems at the Fort Knox base.  (Department of Defense Accelerates Clean Energy Innovation to Save Lives, Money, Pew Study 2011.)

Mar 01, 2012

KySEA Lobby Day - A Success!

by Lauren McGrath — last modified Mar 01, 2012 02:50 PM

More than 60 citizen lobbyists came to Frankfort on Tuesday, February 28, to talk to legislators about the promise of clean energy.

The Clean Energy Lobby Day was hosted by the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA), a coalition of 52 organizations working to pass clean energy policy that would stem rising energy rates and create thousands of new jobs.  KySEA includes small businesses, faith communities, housing groups, MACED, environmental groups, and even individuals.

Lobby Day

It was an incredible day.  Participants from around the state met with more than 50 different legislators to discuss House Bill 167, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, the bill would establish benchmarks for increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky over the next ten years.  It would also establish payment rates for renewable energy to encourage renewable energy industries to locate in Kentucky and create new jobs.

Many surrounding states have already passed such measures, and new jobs in clean energy are going to Ohio and North Carolina instead of Kentucky.

EKU students John Bowers and Emily Justus, and Nick Johnson, a U of Louisville student lobbied for the first time.  Nick told his senator, Robert Leeper of Paducah, about the Synapse Economics study which projects 28,000 additional job-years in Kentucky by 2022 if the bill is passed.  When he came out of the meeting, Nick said “I think I know how to do public speaking.  And now I’m going to learn how to be better at lobbying legislators.”

Emily Justus, a native of Pike County, said she came to Frankfort to “show our support and learn about the whole process.”  John Bowers of Berea said, “I’m very much for clean energy. I think that’s the wave of the future and the direction we need to go.”

Each legislator who met with KySEA representatives was given a packet of information about HB 167 and its projected benefits.  Most KySEA participants reported a fairly favorable response from their legislators.

The Clean Energy Opportunity Act is assigned to the House Tourism, Development and Energy Committee.  One strategy of the lobby day was to press for the bill to get a hearing, and we have learned that our efforts were successful on that. The bill will get a hearing in committee in the next few weeks!  

So, we ask all the wonderful KySEA activists to stay tuned, and come back to the Capitol complex to attend the hearing.

Feb 01, 2012

Can weather stripping and caulk help you get healthy?

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

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

PSHH solar home

 

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

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

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

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

Jan 12, 2012

New study shows diversifying into clean energy can create 28,000 jobs and save Kentuckians on electric bills in the future

by Kristin Tracz — last modified Jan 12, 2012 08:21 AM

A new study estimates that in 10 years Kentucky could create over 28,000 jobs while lessening the growth of electricity bills by passing clean energy legislation currently in front of the General Assembly.

A new study estimates that in 10 years Kentucky could create over 28,000 jobs while lessening the growth of electricity bills by passing clean energy legislation currently in front of the General Assembly. Synapse Energy Economics produced the study, which is an analysis of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act (HB 167) introduced by Representative Mary Lou Marzian.

 “This study confirms that legislation to diversify our electricity portfolio would be economically beneficial to Kentucky,” said Justin Maxson, President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). “The bill would allow the state to hedge against increasing rates by making homes and businesses more energy efficient. And it would spur the creation of clean energy jobs installing renewable energy projects and making energy efficiency upgrades.”

“The era of cheap energy is coming to an end,” said Maxson, “and it is really a question of whether we in Kentucky take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the clean energy economy of the future.”

Synapse’s study is a high level analysis of the proposed legislation’s impacts on Kentucky’s electricity bills, jobs, and economy. The study concludes that making small but significant steps to begin diversifying Kentucky’s portfolio over the next ten years will lower the bills of Kentucky’s residents, business owners, and industrial facilities compared to their bills without a clean energy standard.

Synapse projects that, under the REPS, average annual electricity bills could be eight percent to 10 percent lower than under a do nothing scenario. In addition to saving Kentuckians money, the REPS would lead to over 28,000 net new jobs over and above any jobs lost in fossil fuels and add $1.5 billion to gross state product once fully implemented in 2022.

 “Efficiency and renewables are already the emerging trend in construction in the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky solar entrepreneur Matt Partymiller of Solar Energy Solutions in Lexington. “This report by Synapse captures what Kentucky engineers and contractors already know and what other states have already seen. Legislation like the Clean Energy Opportunity Act will provide the tools necessary for Kentucky builders to create jobs while ensuring Kentucky energy costs stay low.”

The study’s findings are supported by what neighboring states that have passed similar legislation have experienced. North Carolina has seen tremendous growth in the number of clean energy firms operating in their state since passing an REPS in 2007. Ohio built on the strengths of its traditional manufacturing sector to start building clean energy equipment in state, and reap real economic benefits from their 2008 law.

Synapse carried out the study for the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, a Berea based economic development organization, and the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance, a coalition of over 50 businesses, affordable housing advocates, non-profit organizations and faith based groups. MACED and KySEA wanted to understand the economic impacts of an REPS in Kentucky, and a comprehensive analysis of a bill like the Clean Energy Opportunity Act has not been part of the policy conversation until now.

The report can be accessed at www.maced.org/files/Potential_Impacts_of_REPS_in_KY.pdf

Dec 21, 2011

Sustainable Energy Briefs

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Dec 21, 2011 08:16 PM

Kentucky falls in national energy efficiency ranking
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently ranked 37th out of all states on its annual state energy efficiency scorecard. This represents a step down from previous years’ rankings. In 2010, Kentucky was 36th and in 2009 it was 33rd. The rankings are based on an array of metrics including state levels of funding towards energy efficiency and best practices in state energy efficiency policy and program implementation.

Fort Knox Army Base partners with EKPC’s Nolin Rural Electric Co-op to Install Clean Energy Systems
Over the last two years, Fort Knox has partnered with the co-op to create a plan to reduce energy use 35% by this year. The plan included energy efficiency upgrades, a major solar installation, and a geo-thermal heating and cooling system placed in the base barracks. Annual savings from the energy plan is estimated to be $2.8 million. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Industrial Efficiency Efforts in Richmond, KY Saves Money For Sherwin Williams Plant
Sherwin-Williams is the largest producer of paint in the United States today.  The company owns over 3,000 stores throughout North America, with one of its largest plants located in Richmond, KY.  The Kentucky-based Sherwin Williams plant is doing something unique – it’s leading the way on industrial efficiency.

In 2008, via a partnership with the Division of Energy’s Industrial Technology Program, Sherwin William began the process of launching an energy reduction program.  By the 2010 the plant had reduced its total energy consumption by over 25% - with the potential to reduce energy intensity to 50% as more improvements are brought online.  Source: Personal interview by Lauren McGrath of Sierra Club with plant engineer

Energy Improvements Can Save Money and Create Jobs in Cincinnati Area, Study finds
Energy efficiency upgrades to the area's homes and non-profit buildings can save area residents $60 million in lower energy bills and create more than 300 local jobs, according to a study released last month by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. The study looked at the economic impact of energy efficiency investments to the metropolitan area, which includes the Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, and Kenton.

Oct 25, 2011

Join Us: Solar Energy To Be Discussed in Frankfort Tomorrow!

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Oct 25, 2011 04:36 PM

The interim joint committee on local government will host a "discussion on solar energy" tomorrow, October 26th, in Frankfort at 10 am in the Capitol Annex room 171.

 

Join us to support Matt Partymiller and Denis Oudard of Solar Energy Solutions and the Kentucky Solar Energy Society, both member groups of KySEA.

 

The committee is co-chaired by Senator Damon Thayer and Representative Steve Riggs. Both are interested to learn about the opportunity Kentucky has to advance solar energy and how local governments can take action.

 

For more information, email jeff@kysea.org or denis@kysea.org.

 

 

Oct 11, 2011

Renewed Energy

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Oct 11, 2011 10:22 AM

Re-posted from the Louisville Eccentric Observer.

Activists point to higher bills, job creation in urging legislators to support clean energy
By Anne Marshall

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Public Service Commission’s public hearing unfolded much like a game of dominoes. Held at Louisville’s Johnson Traditional Middle School, members of the scant crowd leaned into the microphone, one after another, their pleas all generally falling into line: Don’t raise our bills, protect low-income families who can’t afford ever-blooming energy costs, and get serious about alternative energy.

Clean energy advocates hope the combination of rising rates, along with the potential for job creation, will steer legislators towards passing the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a bill that’s gone nowhere in the past two legislative sessions. It mandates that a portion of Kentucky’s energy come from renewable sources, rather than solely from coal. An admittedly uphill battle in a mountaintop removal state.

“I think it will look nearly impossible until the day before it passes,” says Wallace McMullen, conservation chair with Louisville’s chapter of the Sierra Club.

The Sept. 6 hearing was part of a series as the Public Service Commission decides whether LG&E and Kentucky Utilities should be allowed to tack on an environmental surcharge to bills. That could raise residential electric bills in Louisville by up to 19 percent over the next four years. (The Sierra Club and Metropolitan Housing Coalition will go before the Public Service Commission in November as interveners in the surcharge case. The Sierra Club questions the analysis behind the fee. The Housing Coalition is concerned with how the higher bills may inevitably hit the poor the hardest.)

The charge would eventually drop off once the utilities have covered the estimated $2.5 billion needed to improve existing coal-fired power plants not meeting Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. One such upgrade would include the addition of “scrubbers” that will catch emissions before they escape into the air. Joan Lindop, with the Greater Louisville Sierra Club, likens this to billions on Band-Aids.

“If they scrub more emissions out, that’s more that’s going into a coal ash pile,” she says. “We’re really not wanting to encourage them to spend that money on old plants when it could be used for renewables.”

And so for the third year, advocates are gearing up to push legislation they say would spark production and demand of solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power.

In 2010, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act (HB 239) was assigned to the state House of Representatives’ Natural Resources and Environment Committee, headed by global-warming denier Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence. It did not get a hearing. In 2011, the bill was strategically rerouted outside of Gooch’s committee and into the Tourism Development and Energy Committee led by Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville. That resulted in measured progress: A discussion hearing. No vote.

This year’s proposed legislation will look much like the one from last year, with two critical pieces. The first includes a renewable and efficiency portfolio standard, a policy already adopted by 29 other states. It would require utilities to generate 12.5 percent of retail sales from renewable energy by 2021, with at least 1 percent from solar.

This is a rather conservative standard when compared to several other states demanding that well over 20 percent of energy eventually be derived from renewable sources.

The other proposed policy calls for a “feed-in tariff,” which works as a contract, establishing a fixed premium price for energy produced in Kentucky, be it from large-scale operations or individual homeowners.

Mike Hynes, president of the Housing Partnership Inc., a developer of affordable housing in Louisville, wrote a letter to the Public Service Commission in support of this idea. Hynes recently installed solar panels on one of the Housing Partnership’s properties, but was careful to only invest in panels that would generate 75 percent of their energy needs.

If Hynes outfitted the building with enough panels to exceed 100 percent of their desired energy, LG&E would give him a credit to go toward future bills, rather than pay him for that energy.
“Basically, that builds up in perpetuity. In my mind, that creates an incentive not to produce enough electricity as one could for their household,” he says. “With a rebate program, that’s an incentive to create systems that are larger than what you can use."

Several regional utility companies including Duke Energy, Georgia Power and Florida Power and Light have tariff programs that pay per kilowatt-hour, then turn around and put that energy back into the grid.

Tom FitzGerald, with the Kentucky Resources Council, says the timing is right for renewables.
“The unit cost of solar and wind is coming down,” says FitzGerald, adding that while coal may appear to be the cheapest source of fuel, that’s not including environmental costs and restrictions.

“Over the course of time, you start having to fold in extra costs because externalities have to be accounted for.”

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, will sponsor the renewable energy bill again this year. She says supporters are tailoring their arguments for the legislation in light of another sore subject — jobs.

“When you’re looking at business and manufacturing folks coming to Kentucky, they want constancy in the market,” she says. “Coal is cheap now, but it’s going up.”

The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance reports that neighboring states with clean energy standards are experiencing a boom in manufacturing and construction employment. For example, after Ohio passed legislation in 2008, about 1,500 solar-related jobs were created.

While no one expects the Clean Energy Opportunity Act to garner much attention until election hoopla ceases, advocates believe this year the support just might be there. They point to this week’s Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington, where various panels discussed the issue.

“What we have to consider is coal is always going to be No. 1 for the foreseeable 15 to 20 years,” Marzian says. “But if we don’t start looking at different tools … we’re going to be left holding the bag.”

Oct 05, 2011

KySEA Member, Kentucky Conservation Committee, Welcomes New Director

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Oct 05, 2011 11:49 AM
Filed Under:

Re-posted from the website of Kentucky Conservation Committee, a KySEA member.

Frankfort, KY--October 5, 2011--The Kentucky Conservation Committee has appointed Art Williams, former director of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, as Executive Director.

KCC has lobbied the General Assembly for environmental and conservation legislation since 1975.  Two recent legislative achievements required LEED certification of new state buildings and established a foundation for the protection of more conservation lands.

In accepting the position, Williams said, “I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly, citizens of the state, and other interests to bring progressive and workable solutions to tough issues facing our great Commonwealth.”

Until recently, KCC relied on volunteer work and a part-time lobbyist but times have changed. The President of KCC’s board, Dr. David Wicks of Louisville, said, “Kentucky’s legislature confronts a wide range of challenges related to energy and conservation -- climate change, the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, rampant development, and the limited role of renewable energy . All these threaten Kentucky’s celebrated bio-diversity and suppress opportunities for new, green jobs. Providing an effective voice for conservation of our lands, air, and waters requires a year-round effort.”

Art Williams, an attorney, brings 33 years of environmental and energy experience in the public and private sectors to this position.  He has been the Energy and Environment Advisor to the City of Louisville, served in the Office of General Counsel of the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and as Commissioner of the Department for Environmental Protection, and was a partner and head of the environmental practice for the Louisville law firm Woodward, Hobson and Fulton. 

Wicks said, “Art has dealt effectively with difficult and complex energy, environmental and conservation issues in his career and helped bring people with opposing positions together to achieve positive results. We’re fortunate to contribute his collaborative talents to the legislative process on behalf of Kentucky’s environment.”

KCC will introduce Williams as its Executive Director to the public at an annual meeting to be held Saturday November 5, 2011, at the U of L Shelby campus from 10am to 4pm, where the association will discuss issues for KCC’s focus in the upcoming legislative session.

KySEA welcomes Art Williams to the work!

Calendar of Events

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Clean energy stories
Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Adds Wind Power to Grid Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Adds Wind Power to Grid

Nolin RECC, serving Breckinridge, Bullitt, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, LaRue, Meade and Taylor counties, has recently joined "the nation's quest to seek alternative energy sources," (source: www.nolinrecc.com). They have just installed a wind turbine at the RECC office, located on the Fort Knox miltary base. The turbine is part of a larger effort to use clean energy sources and efficiency to replace 35% of the total base electricity consumption in 2010.

Read more...

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