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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”.

Feb 22, 2012

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More Information:

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

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

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

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

 

Nov 14, 2011

KySEA Groups Discuss Upcoming Legislative Session

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Nov 14, 2011 04:27 PM

About half of KySEA member groups attended a meeting in Lexington on Monday, November 7th, to discuss the upcoming 2012 Kentucky legislative session.

Thirty three representatives from 23 KySEA member groups participated in lively discussion about how to move the Clean Energy Opportunity Act forward this session and about how to support other opportunities that might arise to advance clean energy in the state.

The group heard preliminary findings about a Health Impact Assessment from the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, which shows the health advantages for Kentucky of moving to clean energy.

Curtis Stauffer, of Metropolitan Housing Coalition, also presented about a recent report from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, entitled the 2011 State of Metropolitan Housing Report. It looked at a variety of factors surrounding affordable housing in the Metro Louisville area, focusing particularly on approaches to providing fair and affordable housing that uses less energy.  

Housing and CO2

He showed the graphic above to highligh that denser housing types in transit oriented developments are significantly more energy efficient than less dense housing types in suburban style development.  And, green, energy efficient  building practices- significantly reduce home energy use in all types of developments.

Those present at the KySEA meeting agreed that Kentucky needs better solutions both in building new homes and retrofitting existing homes in order to lower people's energy bills. With electricity rates rising across the state, this will be a topic of much consideration during the next session. And the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, supported by KySEA offers some of those solutions.

 

Nov 01, 2011

Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance Meeting

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Nov 01, 2011 11:17 AM

Monday, November 7th, 2011
10 am to 4 pm
Northside Library Branch
1733 Russell Cave Road
Lexington, KY


The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance will host its fall meeting on November 7th. The agenda will include:

-Preview of the 2012 legislative session: Perspectives from key KySEA members including a green energy business and an affordable housing provider, as well as opportunities to plug into KySEA's legislative work

-Overview of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act

-Two exciting presentations on reports related to clean energy by Metropoltan Housing Coalition and Kentucky Environmental Foundation.

Bring a brown bag lunch. We hope you will join us.

Please RSVP by clicking here.

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.”

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.

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.

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 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 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.

Feb 04, 2011

Reflections on the Kentucky Clean Energy Summit

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Feb 04, 2011 11:45 AM

Reflections in a Clear, 'Green' Mirror
by Cecile Schubert
Kentucky Environmental Foundation Volunteer

What more could one ask for?  A plethora of eclectic environmentalists gathering, discussing and sharing their expertise concerning the health and welfare of the planet...especially for Kentucky.

It was gratifying to see that the meeting room in the Campbell House was filled, with more than 150 people from 31 organizations, who are members of KYSea, and other interested groups. Get a group of environmentalists together and what are the conversations about ...energy efficiency, promoting clean and renewable energy, creating new jobs, enabling all residents and businesses to take advantage of energy solutions (i.e. efficiency savings, reduction in chronic diseases,--thus an improvement in our health & well-being, green jobs, affordable housing, ...and not just for the few).

Impressive to me was that the Summit presented varying 'ways to approach' "Clean Energy Opportunities".  Presentations ranged from "The Case for Clean Energy Policies in Kentucky" to "Making The Case For State-Based Clean Energy Policies". " to "Overview and Lessons from Neighboring States" with time for questions.

Information provided by a panel consisting of Jason Bailey from MACED, discussing "Trends Facing KY's Utility Sector", Elizabeth Crowe, Kentucky Environmental Foundation talking about "Human Health", Kristin Tracz "Job Creation Potential", Jim King of FAHE "Affordability For Families" and Doug Doerrfeld, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, "Environmental Quality" was up-do-date, impacting (almost unsettling) and easy to digest.

Of especial interest to me was data that demonstrated that if KY transitions away from coal by 2050, the health & well-being of Kentuckians could be impacted to such a degree that there could be up to savings of $48 billion in terms of health care costs.  Just imagine the improvement in the over all well-being of our families, the land, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Just imagine the relief for those of us who already suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis,  and allergies. Just imagine the reduction in the diagnoses of cancer and tuberculosis.

Big thanks go to the good folks who planned the Summit--it was a roaring success in my opinion.  Many 'conferences' that gather in one room for two hours or more tend to find people using their computers for 'other things' or using their text messaging.  The participants at this summit were 'spot on' in their attention. Wow, what a breath of fresh air!!

Jun 30, 2010

Lewis County Affordable Housing Turns Green!

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 30, 2010 08:50 AM

People's Self Help Housing in Vanceburg, KY, is paving a green path for affordable housing in Kentucky. A highly energy efficient home that PSHH recently built and sold has been LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is only the third house in all of Kentucky to receive the certification.


Melissa Evans paid $90,000 for the home and, given that low utility and maintenance costs in the future are a guarantee, it will remain affordable for years to come. The LEED-certified home cost about $115,000 to build and the purchase cost was lower due to grant support for the efforts from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.The home will use about 1/3 less energy than a standard house of it size.

A couple of years ago, on People's 25th anniversary, the board of directors decided that new houses had to be more energy efficient to offset rapidly increasing utility rates. Further, the organization believes that providing local jobs, further benefiting the local community, is the best way to do this work. Moving into green housing is a way to accomplish both of these objectives.

As Dave Kreher, PSHH executive director says, “we can provide jobs that will help people have affordable utility bills – the two can come together. Why have someone from Indiana come in and do this for us? We have a 28 year history of doing the work with local crews and these guys are as good as it gets. Let’s maximize the benefit for everyone. We have barely scratched the surface here. There is a lot to do.”

PSHH solar home

PSHH has built several highly energy efficient homes, including a couple like the one shown to the left that contain a solar hot water heater. Kreher and PSHH will remain committed going forward to this win-win situation, in large part because the community has such great needs for both affordability and jobs. Lewis County — which is in northeastern Kentucky and has a population of about 14,000 — is one of 43 counties in the state where poverty is considered persistent. In 2008, Vanceburg's median income was less than $21,000, or about half the state average. Electricity rates just rose by 26% recently. And county unemployment rate was near 18% at the start of this year.

Learn more about PSHH here.

Learn more about LEED certification here.



 

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Randy's run Randy's run

Clay County, Kentucky resident Randy Wilson ran for the board of his electric cooperative on a platform of affordable energy, better energy choices, and good local jobs in 2009. Randy was the first person to oppose a sitting Jackson Energy board member since the co-op was founded in 1938. Before running for office, Randy was an active member of the Kentuckians For the Commonwealth’s Canary Leadership Network carrying a message throughout the region about the need to transition away from coal and towards clean energy.

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