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Kentucky Poised to Move Forward in Implementing Governor’s Energy Strategy

In January 2011, the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI) contracted MEEA to manage a two and half year stakeholder process under a cooperative agreement with US Department of Energy.  MEEA’s role is to bring together stakeholders from all sectors to assess efforts by Kentucky’s local utilities, industry and businesses to save energy costs through efficiency, and to devise ways to expand and enhance these efforts.  Following yesterday’s final meeting of the collaborative series, MEEA and DEDI are now poised to finalize Kentucky’s Action Plan and begin implementing one of Governor Steve Beshear’s primary strategies in achieving Kentucky’s energy goals – efficiency.

The first phase of the stakeholder process included ten months of one-on-one meetings followed in December 2011 by a three-meeting series of statewide collaborative meetings. The second collaborative was held in March 2012, and the third and final was on July 31 in Frankfort.  Participants in these meetings represented diverse interests across Kentucky including utility, industry, commercial, academic, housing, non-profit, government, legislative, regulatory, and business/trade associations. 

The final meeting focused on demonstrating to stakeholders how DEDI’s initiative is furthering efficiency efforts already underway in Kentucky, while simultaneously paving the way to achieving the Governor’s leading energy strategy – reducing energy consumption by 18% of the projected 2025 demand through energy efficiency.  The meeting featured remarks from newly-appointed Commissioner to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, Linda Breathitt, as well as a walk-through of each main policy and program option that will be included in the Action Plan.  Preliminary Action Items include:

  • A simple, clear mechanism to track energy gains from utility-run efficiency programs, with the goal of measuring progress toward the Governor’s 18% goal and positioning Kentucky as a leader in energy efficiency in the national arena.
  • Creation of a Peer Exchange for utilities to share information and experiences.
  • Expanding current state-run programs, such as Kentucky Home Performance.
  • Increasing financial incentives for industrial and commercial energy users to invest in energy-saving upgrades.
  • Providing for more robust education and training to residential and commercial energy users on the benefits of efficiency and the availability of incentive programs.
  • Addressing the stock of energy inefficient manufactured homes in Kentucky.
  • Uniform enforcement of the residential and commercial building code.
  • Recommendations at the federal level on energy efficiency issues affecting all states.

Following further stakeholder input this August, DEDI plans to release the final Action Plan this fall, and thereafter implement near-term action items in the winter and spring of 2013.  MEEA’s involvement as DEDI’s contractor concludes in June of 2013, at which point DEDI will continue to work with stakeholders across Kentucky to implement the remaining Action Items.

MEEA plans to release a case study following the completion of its contract in 2013.  If you have any questions about the Kentucky project, contact Samantha Williams, Policy Manager, at swilliams@mwalliance.org.