Kentucky gets most of its electricity from coal, but as new air pollution rules go into effect, coal becomes more expensive than it used to be. A presentation in Louisville tonight will discuss policies that can spur alternative, and cleaner, energy in the commonwealth. Kristin Tracz is a research and policy associate with non-profit Mountain Area Community Economic Development. She says a smart economic move for Kentucky would be to pass the Clean Energy Opportunity Act—a bill that’s been introduced in the state legislature in the past two sessions.
The bill would set requirements for state utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources. Tracz says this would help diversify the state’s energy mix, which would be a smart move as coal reserves decline and become more expensive to mine.
“We’re vulnerable with our portfolio being about 94 percent coal-fired currently,” she said. “As those costs go up, ratepayers in Kentucky, customers like you and I, will have a bigger price to pay for that coal.”
Tracz says there’s an unfounded skepticism around solar power in the commonwealth.
“You’ll hear folks say ‘Oh, that’ll never work in Kentucky’ or ‘It’s not sunny enough here,’” she said. “And if you look at the maps about solar access, the amount of sun that hits the ground in Kentucky is better than in New Jersey, and they’re one of the leading states in solar energy.”
And Tracz says other states with coal reserves—like Ohio—that have passed renewable portfolio standard bills have seen economic development in the solar sector.
Tracz’s talk is 6:00 tonight at the League of Women Voters’ Louisville headquarters at 115 S. Ewing Ave, Louisville.