The path to clean energy in KY

In search of a path to clean energy
in KY
July 27, 2013
93% of Kentucky’s
electricity comes
from burning coal.
Once, that was an
advantage. But the
world has changed.
Now the cost of coalfired power is rising
sharply due to the
cost of fuel,
construction and
Cheap rates ≠ low bills
Historically, KY’s
dependence on coal
meant cheap rates, but
relatively high bills.
Residential Energy Intensity
(Source: Energy Information Administration, 2007)
We under-invest in
energy saving. We have
poor quality housing
stock. We have not
prioritized efficiency
through public policies.
Average kilowatt hours
used by a customer in one year
Kentucky Average Electricity Rates Rose 68% 2001-2011
Cents per KWH
All of our eggs are in one basket…
Kentucky’s per capita carbon
footprint is 50% bigger than
US average.
KY has the most energy
intensive economy (or least
energy efficient economy).
KY rate-payers – residents,
businesses, industry, schools,
nonprofits – are uniquely
vulnerable to rising costs of
coal fired power.
Meanwhile, the world around
us is changing fast….
What about the cost of clean energy?
Solar PV
$98 - 154
Solar Thermal
$119 - 194
$65 - 110
Energy Efficiency
New Gas Combined
Existing Gas*
(before upgrades)
(after upgrades)**
New Coal
$50 - 100
Levelized Cost ($/MWh) : 2009-2012 Timeframe
So what is KY’s potential
for clean energy solutions?
Energy Efficiency = Low Hanging Fruit
For biggest energy savings: weatherize
 Basic weatherization can
reduce a home’s energy use
by 15-18%.
 The amount of money you
save will grow each year as
the cost of energy rises.
Refrigeration: another household energy hog
 An old fridge can gobble up
as much energy in a year as
the average KY house uses in
a month!
 Replacing your old fridge
with an energy star model can
save $75 a year at 2009 energy
How do Kentucky’s Energy Efficiency efforts stack up?
What’s the potential for
renewable energy in KY?.
December 2010 Study of Renewable Energy
Resources in US South:
• The South can generate 15-30% of its
electricity from renewables over next 20 years
with 25% renewable requirement in place.
• At the end of 20 years, average electricity
rates in the South would be LOWER than
business as usual projections.
• Renewable potential more than doubles
with new wind maps, new hydro maps, and
inclusion of small scale (distributed) systems.
A 2012 report by Downstream
Strategies estimated KY could
generate 34% of our electricity
from “distributed renewables” by
What do we know about KY’s
wind potential?
3 years ago, data
showed that KY could
develop 34-60 MW of
utility scale wind.
New wind maps show
48,000 MW of utility
scale wind (between 25% and
30% capacity factor at 100 meters).
What do we know about KY’s
hydro-power potential??
8 8 7 M E G AWAT T S P O T E N T I A L AT E X I S T I N G DA M S
What can we say about solar PV
potential in KY?
Combined with an energy efficient
home, rooftop solar panels can
provide most or all of the annual
electricity needs for a home in KY.
The upfront costs are significant,
but dropping rapidly.
Solar is among fastest growing industries in the US
What can we say about biomass
potential in KY?
KY has significant
biomass and
There are
Questions? Thoughts?
What is it going to take?
The bottom line: public policy matters
KY is in danger of being left behind
EIA data, from Washington Post
Our proposal: The Kentucky Clean
Energy Opportunity Act
1. Ask utilities to meet a
growing share of their
energy needs from energy
efficiency programs and
renewable energy.
(This is called a renewable and efficiency
portfolio standard.)
2. Expand in-state
renewable energy
production by paying
customers for the
renewable energy they
supply to the grid.
(This is called a feed-in tariff).
The goals start small, end reasonable
How would Kentuckians benefit?
Over ten years, this bill would:
• Create 28,000 net new jobs
• Lower bills by average of 8-10%
• Add $1.5 billion to KY economy
Access Potential Impacts of REPS in Kentucky report at
Beyond the Clean Energy Opportunity
Act, other good steps include:
• Raise the limit on size of renewable energy systems
that can be net-metered
• Allow 3rd party ownership of renewable energy systems
• Establish revolving loan funds to help schools,
businesses, local governments, & homeowners pay
upfront costs of energy efficiency upgrades
• Direct Public Service Commission to prioritize efficiency
& consider future costs and risks, not just “least cost” (in
the present moment) when approving utility plans
What will it take to make
meaningful progress?
What will it take to make
meaningful progress?
What role can informed,
concerned citizens play?
Actions we can take
Continue to learn together
Identify ways to reduce and shift
our own energy use
Meet with our legislators
Meet with our rural coop
Write letters to editor
Explore and develop
community-based solutions
Attend Co-op public forum on
renewables: Sept 19th in Danville
What do we want to learn
more about?
Climate change / climate policy
Strategies to promote clean energy
solutions at a local level
Communicating effectively about
clean energy solutions & policies
Understanding the opportunities
and barriers to solar energy in KY
(a deeper look at best practices,
programs and policies)
Health implications of our current
energy landscape
Strategies for making energy
efficiency & renewables more
accessible everyday people
Do it yourself energy efficiency
Understanding the roles of public
decision-makers (legislature,
Attorney General, Public Service
Commission) in stalling or
promoting clean energy solutions.
Strategies to promote clean energy
within our rural co-op
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