Commitment, Community, Cooperation

KEF Energy Conservation Study

In Environmental on September 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Blue skies over Lexington mask its high “carbon footprint” produced by coal-fired energy production throughout the region.

[Originally posted February 20, 2008]

A Brookings Institution report ranks Kentucky’s two largest cities—Lexington and Louisville—respectively the first and fifth worst urban “carbon footprints” in the United States. And close-by Indianapolis and Cincinnati ranked second and third. The enormous challenge to policy makers, businesses, and citizens in this region is quite clear.

Brookings analyst and study co-author Andrea Sarzynski says, “These areas tend to use a lot of relatively dirty fuels for their electricity . . . [Relying] fairly heavily on coal,” which, she adds, produces more carbon than other energy sources. The study clarifies two important problems facing the region: First, that this is a regional problem that requires a regional solution. Second, that the region’s dependence upon “dirty fuels,” specifically coal, is a major contributor to the problem and is therefore something that needs to be closely examined.

This is the background behind a One Horizon grant in support of an important energy study jointly commissioned by the Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF), The Sierra Club, and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

The KEF Report

Released on February 20, 2008, A Portfolio of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Options for East Kentucky Power Cooperative, is a study designed to “steer EKPC away from dirty energy and down a path to a clean energy future for Kentucky,” says KEF’s Elizabeth Crowe. The study outlines a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy options that can meet the energy demand that EKPC projects without EKPC having to build its proposed “Smith 1” coal fired power plant in Clark County. “While coal-fired power plants are fraught with economic, environmental and health risks, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs such as those highlighted in this portfolio are a wise investment in Kentucky’s future,” says Crowe.

The study, authored by nationally known analyst Susan Zinga, was delivered to board members and representatives of East Kentucky Power Cooperative and its member cooperatives as an alternative to the proposed plant, and an important step in the direction of developing a more progressive regional energy policy. One Horizon has also worked with the same coalition to help organize and fund a CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb) distribution program intended to further promote and enact the principles outlined in the study.

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