Clean Energy Opportunity Act
On February 28, 2013 the Kentucky House of Representatives Tourism, Development and Energy Committee held an informational hearing on the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. This bill advances small levels of required renewable energy and energy efficiency production by utilities. Twenty-nine other states have already adopted these standards. To watch a video of the hearing, click the link to the right. Below are some quotes from those who testified as well as highlights of the information that was presented.
“This is s recognition that there are alternatives. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs in Kentucky. While we recognize that coal is an extremely valuable resource in Kentucky, which produces loads of jobs and it is our economic driver, this recognizes that we need to start looking at the future and building on what we have in Kentucky as far as clean energy and renewable.”
– Rep. Mary Lou Marzain (D – Louisville), sponsor of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act
John M. Smith, owner of a commercial refrigeration company that contracts through MACED to help make energy efficiency upgrades at grocery stores, provided the following statistic: the average supermarket consumes 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, which is equivalent to the energy use of 48 homes. By installing energy efficient upgrades, that consumption can be cut by 30 to 50 percent.
Smith went on to discuss the values of energy efficiency measures in grocery stores, such as heat reclamation. Heat reclamation repurposes the heat generated by commercial refrigeration systems as heat for the store. This allows owners to heat their grocery stores at no cost.
Those upgrades are costly, though, which creates the necessity for incentive programs that will help grocery store owners pay for energy efficient upgrades, something that would be available more easily and for longer periods of time if House Bill 170 is passed into law.
“What I’ve seen on a lot of incentive programs is they either expire too soon or there’s not enough knowledge out there to let the supermarket owners know . . . that these incentives even exist.”
– John M. Smith
John A. Smith is a home insulation contractor with MACED's How$mart program. He’s worked in eastern and southern Kentucky for 15 years as an insulation contractor.
“Utility bills are like an adjustable rate. Nobody wants a home with an adjustable rate. We want a fixed rate. The best way to get a fixed rate is by our most efficient manner.”
– John A. Smith
He said most homes in eastern Kentucky are less than 30 percent efficient. Through energy efficiency upgrades, some home owners’ bills can be reduced by half. However, many people in eastern Kentucky can’t afford the upgrades, which creates the need for incentive programs that would allow homeowners to pay for the upgrades with the energy savings the upgrades provide, like the How$mart program.
Since partnering with How$mart, Smith said he’s had so much business that he’s had to hire more employees and purchase more equipment. He also told two stories of homeowners calling him to thank him for making their homes warmer.
“This [program] is helping jobs, this is helping individuals be more comfortable, not only in their home, but financially paying for them, being able to afford them and we’re creating jobs as well. To me, there’s no downside to [energy efficiency]. The overall picture is we’re reducing consumption by maximizing conservation, which is what we all want. We’ve got to conserve.”
– John A. Smith
MACED's Energy Efficient Enterprises Program Coordinator Joshua Bills provided updates about our energy work.
Energy Efficient Enterprises
More than 50 energy saving projects with commercial enterprises have been completed over the last year, creating savings of more than $150,000.
As the pilot program comes to a close, three of the four electric cooperatives that How$mart has partnered with have applied for permanent tariffs with the Public Service Commission to continue the program indefinitely.
How$mart has completed energy efficiency upgrades in 115 homes, saving those homeowners an average of $540 a year. 44 percent of the home owners who participated in How$mart are considered low to medium income.
“This bill would send a message to the PSC and electric suppliers that you want to see programs that are professionally managed and focused on real results that save homeowners and businesses from wasting energy and thus saving them money.”
– Joshua Bills