Chapter: Madison County

Do you believe community members have an important voice in the conversation about Madison County’s future?

The Madison County KFTC Chapter is a place where you, a member of this community, can work with others on issues we care about. Over the past year our members have worked together to promote clean energy at the local level, register and educate voters, support a Fairness ordinance in Berea, and much more. We have more than 500 members of various ages and backgrounds, and we welcome new folks.

Our monthly meeting is a great opportunity to learn what we’re up to, express your ideas and find a way to get involved.

Recent Activities

Madison County Chapter Update: NET Committee

KFTC’s New Energy and Transition (NET) Committee convened on August 8, and celebrated a significant triumph!


EKPC “Community” Solar Farm, KFTC and partner public interest groups played a pivotal role in convincing East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) to pursue a solar farm. On July 21, EKPC requested regulatory approval for a 60 acre, 8.5-megawatt solar farm patterned after the Berea Solar Farm model! If approved, member/customers of EKPC’s 16 distribution cooperatives would be able to purchase 25-year “licenses” at $460, per 335-Watt panel. The solar farm would be located adjacent to EKPC’s headquarters in Winchester. If approved, distribution co-ops like Blue Grass Energy would choose whether, or not to make licenses available to their member/customers. 

When we succeeded in stopping EKPC’s plans to build a new coal-fired power plant a condition of the settlement included the creation of a “clean energy” collaborative among EKPC, its sixteen distribution co-ops, KFTC and our partner public interest groups. Co-op staff were skeptical that their member/customers had interest in renewable energy because their EnviroWatts program, which adds a charge to participating customers’ bills to help support EKPC’s landfill gas generation, had low levels of participation. We were able to convince the utilities that the EnviroWatts model was the problem; that a Berea Solar Farm type of model would have appeal that the EnviroWatts model could not match. 

Members Tona Barkley and our own chapter’s Steve Wilkins represented KFTC in the collaborative. Two other Madison County chapter members, Steve Boyce and Josh Bills, were instrumental in bringing the Berea Solar Farm to life. The Berea Solar Farm and its approach to community solar gave EKPC a model that they could run with to create their own, much bigger version. Let’s celebrate! 

[There are many types of “community” solar. While the EKPC model keeps all assets on the utility’s side of the meter, there are other community solar farm models that democratize electric power by putting farms within the communities that use power from them. These farms are on the customer’s side of the electric meter.]

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Upcoming public meetings: Berea wholesale electric power decision

Berea Municipal Utilities (BMU) does not generate its own electricity. It buys its wholesale electric power from Kentucky Utilities (KU). KU provided Berea and ten other cities with new terms for contract renewals that were considered too restrictive. Consultants who have negotiated with KU on behalf of this coalition of cities for more than 30 years advised that the cities should evaluate options besides continuing with KU. This led to an expansion of this long-term city collaboration to create a new agency so that this collective could formally negotiate power contracts for the groups and spread administrative costs among the group. This agency is the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA). It was assumed that Berea would sign on to participate, but various issues prompted Berea’s city council to explore other options in addition to either continuing with KU, going with KyMEA, or going with some other provider. The city council is now in the process of considering options before it makes a choice. 

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Changes in Madison County on Election Day

Voters in Madison County may have noticed something a little different at the polls this Election Day. 


How did these signs come to be? The process started just this past September in Berea, a small community in Madison County, when the city held a special election. While there was good voter turn out, not all went smoothly. There were many reports of confusion at the polls and voters being turned away for not possessing a state issued ID.  The members of the Madison County chapter of KFTC decided this could not happen again.

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Legislators asked to consider safety of pipelines

Two legislative committee hearings in July focused on pipeline safety in Kentucky.

On July 16, KFTC member Bob Pekny joined Rep. David Floyd to talk about the Pipeline Safety Bill that was introduced in the 2015 legislative session.

“Kentucky is crisscrossed with pipelines of various sorts, most of them related to energy” Rep. Floyd told the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism. “We believe an increase in precautions would be wise.”

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Madison County KFTC celebrates Pi(e) Day with 5th annual Pie Auction

More than 60 people came out for the Madison County KFTC chapter’s 5th annual Pie Auction, and it was a rousing success, chock-full of laughter, puns, cheers for KFTC, and, of course, lots of pie! This year’s annual event was held on Saturday, March 14 at Union Church in Berea. The Pie Auction was extra special this year as it landed on Pi Day – 3.14.15, making this a once-in-a-century Pie Auction. 

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Chapter Feature:

Regular Meetings:

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Berea College Appalachian Center
205 N. Main Street
Bruce-Trades Building
Berea, KY 40403
Monthly Chapter Meeting

Join us on the fourth Monday of every month at 7pm (unless otherwise noted) for our Madison County KFTC Chapter meeting. We share updates about our work, make plans for upcoming work, and much more. Everyone is welcome, and new faces are encouraged!

Chapter Organizer:

Sasha Zaring
210 North Broadway #3
Berea, KY 40403

Upcoming Events:

November 5

Pipeline, Fracking Summit

3591 Leestown Road
Lexington, KY
Pipelines, Fracking, and Kentucky’s Future Beyond Fossil Fuels
November 28

Madison County Chapter Meeting & Holiday Party

205 N. Main Street
Berea, KY 40404