Sustainable Energy Solutions

Kentucky's sustainable energy landscape

Thousands of Kentucky's businesses and Kentuckians across the state are taking steps to save energy and money right now. In the face of rapidly rising electric bills and an economic downturn, we are proving that sustainable energy solutions curb energy costs and create jobs.

Consider these Kentucky success stories:

How$mart KY– East Kentucky Power Cooperative distribution co-ops are using local construction crews to make Eastern Kentuckians’ homes more energy efficient. The construction costs are returned through a pay-as-you-go approach, where residents get to pocket some of the savings on the monthly bill and use some of the savings to pay the loan back. Learn more about our co-op work here.

Kentucky: Green and Healthy Schools Program – With 160 highly energy efficient Energy Star school buildings, we are a national leader in this arena. Some of these building generate renewable electricity on site! These schools are out-performing expectations and saving us thousands of dollars.

Yet Kentucky has a long way to go. We currently rely on coal-burning power for about 93% of our electricity generation and are last among U.S. states in non-hydroelectric renewable energy generation.

Through individual action and by passing better state energy policy, we have an opportunity right now to tap into our state's sustainable energy resources on a much larger scale.

Our sustainable energy potential

We are well-suited for small and large scale use of:

  • Energy efficiency -Taking action to reduce energy use, including doing things as simple as replace traditional lightbulbs with CFL bulbs that use less energy. At a minimum, increasing energy efficiency could meet all of the growth in our energy demand project through 2017 while reducing energy bills for home and businesses.
  • Hydroelectric - Flowing water powers a small or large turbine that spins to create electricity. Kentucky could double its current hydroelectric power by bringing 887 megawatts of power at existing dams back online.
  • Solar -Kentucky's solar resources are better than Germany's, which has the largest installed solar capacity in the world. With enhanced state energy policies in place, small solar panel arrays and residential solar hot water heaters alone could generate 15% of Kentucky's electricity by 2025.
  • Wind - Kentucky has significant wind potential, but studies detailing Kentucky's capacity to generate power from small and large wind turbines are outdated. Every state bordering us generates electricity from wind.
  • Biomass - Our largest renewable resource may be biomass, wood and other native Kentucky crops that can be burned to create electricity. There are significant sustainability issues that must be addressed when considering this energy source.

Download a presentation with more information on Kentucky's capacity in each area or learn more at

Andy McDonald

"Large scale investments in renewable energy would create thousands of new employment opportunities in manufacturing, sales, installation and other industries."

Andy McDonald
Kentucky Solar Partnership

Our opportunity to grow the economy and create jobs

In Kentucky, we have the clean energy resources and the know-how to put people to work and get our economy back on track. Clean energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and is expected to continue growing rapidly. These jobs are growing in several sectors, including manufacturing, construction, engineering and retail.

Nearby states are reaping the benefits of clean energy. Since passing state clean energy policies a few years ago, Ohio has grown 9,000 jobs in direct renewable energy services and more than 70,000 jobs in solar and wind manufacturing and North Carolina has grown 12,500 jobs, billions in investments and 715 new businesses across rural and urban areas.

Read more about job growth in:

By implementing state energy policies similar to those in Ohio and North Carolina, we would create at least 28,000 jobs in our urban and rural communities.

Our opportunity to curb energy costs

Kentucky’s electricity rates have risen 41 percent on average over the last 5 years. And they are projected to continue rising – at least 37% in the next decade - if we do nothing to change our current fuel sources.

Transitioning to sustainable energy will curb our energy costs, compared to a business-as-usual "do-nothing" scenario. Energy efficiency saves us money our electric bills by lowering our energy use and renewable energy costs are rapidly decreasing - solar energy prices have dropped 33% over the past 3 years.

Learn more about KFTC's committment to affordable solutions and economic justice here.

Sustainable energy policy solutions

Along with our partners in the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA), we support the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. This bill would allow us to take modest but important steps toward clean energy by:

We also support expanding Kentucky's net metering law and an effort to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy in our schools, called the Kentucky Green Schools Initiative.  These are revenue neutral  - they don't cost the state any tax dollars.

Learn more about:

You can help move these solutions forward by talking to your legislators about why you support them.