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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the entire report.

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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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