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People's Plan for Kentucky's Energy Future

A plan for a transition to a clean energy economy in Kentucky is to be unveiled Saturday. (MACED)
A plan for a transition to a clean energy economy in Kentucky is to be unveiled Saturday. (MACED)
September 29, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With climate change being addressed globally, a grassroots organization in Kentucky is making a concerted effort to get the discussion about transitioning to a clean energy economy moving in the Bluegrass State.

After a year of gathering public comment, consulting work and analysis, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth will roll out its draft Empower Kentucky plan Saturday.

Steve Wilkins, a KFTC member from Berea, has been part of developing a people's plan from the beginning.

"It will focus on the economic and energy solutions that are good for all of us, especially affected workers and low-income communities,” he explains. “That it significantly reduces risks and harms to our health, environment and climate."

Kentucky has delayed putting together its own state specific plan after joining other states in a legal challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

In February the U.S. Supreme Court put the brakes on implementation of the nation's first ever limits on pollution from power plants.

Chris Woolery, one of the Empower Kentucky Summit organizers, says a "practical and inclusive" clean energy plan maximizing benefits for Kentucky is critical and that's what the Empower Kentucky plan does.

"I would love to see us be doing efficiency and renewables rather than paying for renewable energy credits or other offsets that empower other states to see economic development and environmental improvement," states Woolery, who does energy retrofit work.

Woolery says Kentucky needs to remove barriers to clean energy programs – for example, expand net metering so more buildings, schools and churches could offset their entire electric usage.

Many of Kentucky's political leaders maintain adopting a clean energy plan would raise electric bills and hurt the economy.

Wilkins says too many politicians are leaning in the "do nothing direction" and the Empower Kentucky plan offers a way to engage all Kentuckians in a just transition.

"Hopefully that will tell our legislators, 'you've got to be on board with this' or we will watch the rest of the country move ahead with jobs, the economy, health, environment, all of these things and we will be sort of marking time," he stresses.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY