New Energy and Transition News

Where’s McConnell on boost for coal country?

September 16, 2016
Lexington Herald-Leader

A $1 billion plan to put coal miners back to work and turn some of Appalachia’s environmental problems into economic progress holds promise but must involve residents of the region in planning and ensure that the benefits stay in the communities where help is needed the most.

Conferences offer competing environmental views

September 19, 2016
The Courier-Journal

The 40th Governor's Conference on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday and Thursday in Lexington has 34 listed speakers or moderators, but only two of them come from a non-profit, environmental advocacy background.

Getting ready for Empower Kentucky Summit, September 30-October 1 in Louisville

August 31, 2016 at 05:21pm

UPDATED - September 25, 2016

The Empower Kentucky Summit, which kicks off Friday evening in Louisville, is shaping up to be one of the largest and most diverse gatherings ever in Kentucky focused on ways to build a clean energy economy - one that works for all of us. More than 210 people are coming from communities large and small across our Commonwealth and at least 12 other states!

Registration is still open, so register now and invite your friends. The cost to register is a donation of any size. 

Kentuckians want an energy future that provides good jobs and health, advances racial and economic justice, and reduces the risks and harms of global climate change. This summit is an exciting opportunity to learn about solutions that are already working in communities around the country, and shape progress here at home towards that shared vision. 

The Summit starts 7 to 10 pm on September 30 and continues from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, October 1. 

Madison County Chapter Update: NET Committee

August 25, 2016 at 12:16pm
Madison County

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

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.]

Letcher Countians speak out against proposed federal prison

April 8, 2016 at 10:41am

Last year, Congress approved funding for a new maximum security federal prison in Letcher County – the only new federal prison in the nation. The estimated preliminary cost of construction is $460 -$510 million. Rep. Hal Rogers has touted the prison as the main economic engine in eastern Kentucky. 

In Letcher County, we have so much potential, and with the right investments could create local economic engines that serve our land and our people. The Letcher County KFTC Chapter does not believe that this prison offers the economic development that Letcher County deserves.

Local residents are joining together to voice concerns about the prison. Chapter members have formed a work team to participate and to highlight alternative economic drivers that would support a just transition for our region.

On April 1, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced that it was forced to re-open a public comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the prison in Letcher County after facing multiple shortcomings, including violations of public notice requirements, in its "Final EIS" released last July. A 30-day window is now open on a Revised Final EIS.

Mitch Whitaker, a local resident, recently had an op-ed published in the Lexington Herald-Leader about his concerns. Check it out, below, and keep on the lookout for more.

Big Sandy chapter hosts seventh annual Growing Appalachia conference

April 7, 2016 at 11:17am


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On Saturday March 5, folks from around eastern Kentucky came out to the Jenny Wiley Convention Center near Prestonsburg for the seventh annual Growing Appalachia conference, which is a day of workshops about small-scale farming, energy efficiency and renewables.

Look what KFTC members did in 2015

March 29, 2016 at 01:58pm

KFTC members did some amazing work in 2015.

We took our climate justice work to the world stage at the COP21 climate talks in Paris, helped pass a minimum wage increase in Lexington, and moved the needle on voting rights. And in communities across Kentucky, we raised our voices for renters’ rights, environmental protection, racial justice and more.

We’re pleased to share with you the 2015 KFTC Annual Report.

You’ll see lots of faces and some important wins. And you’ll see the New Power we’re building together to achieve the Kentucky we envision.

Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for your part in making 2015 great.

Community conversations will help shape Empower Ky. Plan

March 1, 2016 at 05:13pm

Kentuckians will have the opportunity this spring to help shape a new Empower Kentucky Plan to map out an energy future for Kentucky that grows jobs, benefits health and addresses racial and economic inequality while doing our part to reduce the risks of climate change.

The Empower Kentucky Plan will be informed by diverse public input, including ideas generated at a series of “A Seat at the Table” community conversations hosted by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth in April and May.

Comment | Make Ky. healthier with renewable energy

February 17, 2016
The Courier-Journal

Imagine if we replaced coal with cleaner sources of energy that drastically reduce the chances of our loved ones suffering from a deadly lung disease. Solar and other renewable forms of energy do not emit carbon dioxide or other pollutants that eat away at our lungs and harm the planet.