Environmentalists line up behind bill calling for eggs in different baskets

Here’s the release:

New Alliance Promotes Clean, Affordable Energy Solutions

Applauds legislation to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy in Kentucky

A new alliance of clean energy businesses and non-profit organizations praised legislation filed yesterday in the Kentucky legislature by Representative Harry Moberly. The legislation 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.

The Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA) says House Bill 408 requires Kentucky’s utilities to generate 12.5% of their retail sales from renewable sources by the year 2020, up from only 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,” said Matt Partymiller, an owner of Solar Energy Solutions, a company that employs three 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.”

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KySEA formed in August 2009 with the goal of promoting clean, sustainable and affordable energy solutions for Kentucky. The Alliance currently has 25 members including renewable energy businesses, service organizations, faith and social justice groups, agricultural, environmental and health-based organizations. KySEA seeks to build public support for energy policies that:

§ Make improving energy efficiency Kentucky’s top energy priority.
§ Promote the development of clean, renewable energy and increase the share of our overall energy mix that comes from these sources.
§ Create new jobs and opportunities for Kentuckians, including a just transition for coal communities and workers.
§ Enable all Kentucky residents and businesses to take advantage of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions.
Additional information about the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance and the potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Kentucky can be found at: www.kysea.org.