Clean energy investment could spur energy staffing in Kentucky

01.18.2012


A new study examining the potential impact of a proposed Kentucky bill states that passing the legislation would have myriad benefits, including lower energy bills, economic development and the stimulation of energy staffing.
A new study examining the potential impact of a proposed Kentucky bill states that passing the legislation would have myriad benefits, including lower energy bills, economic development and the stimulation of energy staffing.

A new study examining the potential impact of a proposed Kentucky bill states that passing the legislation would have myriad benefits, including lower energy bills, economic development and the stimulation of energy staffing.

A statement released by Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) on January 12, indicated that passing the Clean Energy Opportunity Act (HB 167) could create more than 28,000 new jobs in the state over the course of ten years, according to a study done by Synapse Energy Economics.

This report indicates that the estimated number of jobs created by the legislation would be over and above any lost by fossil fuels companies. Upon full implementation of the legislation in 2022, the bill would add $1.5 billion to gross state product.

"This study confirms that legislation to diversify our electricity portfolio would be economically beneficial to Kentucky," Justin Maxson, President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. "The bill would allow the state to hedge against increasing rates by making homes and businesses more energy efficient. And it would spur the creation of clean energy jobs installing renewable energy projects and making energy efficiency upgrades."

The results associated with implementing similar regulations in other states support the efficacy and impact of the proposed bill. In North Carolina, the number of clean energy firms has proliferated strongly since REPS was passed in 2007.

"Efficiency and renewables are already the emerging trend in construction in the Commonwealth," Kentucky solar entrepreneur Matt Partymiller of Solar Energy Solutions in Lexington said in the statement. "This report by Synapse captures what Kentucky engineers and contractors already know and what other states have already seen. Legislation like the Clean Energy Opportunity Act will provide the tools necessary for Kentucky builders to create jobs while ensuring Kentucky energy costs stay low."

The Clean Energy Opportunity Act wishes to create new regulations that would establish a renewable and efficiency portfolio standard (REPS). These REPS would require utility companies to place more attention on efforts aimed at increasing energy efficiency and also obligate the firms to get a certain fraction of their electricity from clean renewable energy.

If the legislation is approved, utility firms will need to get 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable energy. Also, the energy efficiency efforts of the companies would need to generate 10.25 percent cumulative savings by 2022.

Elsewhere in the country, energy staffing is booming in San Antonio, Texas, where 800 new solar jobs are set to be created after two parts suppliers move to the area, according to television station KSAT. On January 18, CPS Energy announced that it will collaborate with OCI Solar Power to manufacture both power plants and solar panel parts, which should stimulate energy staffing and also provide 400 megawatts of power every year. Almost one year after CPS Energy started talking about bringing more renewable energy activity to the region, the plans of the two companies to work together were announced. Originally, the plans specified a target annual production rate of 50 megawatts, but that number was changed after the largest city-owned utilities firm exceeded that target.

The media outlet reports that the two firms should begin building solar panels in the beginning of 2013 and work on solar plants should start in 2016. The agreement between the two companies will move the city one step closer to its SA2020 goal of having renewable energy resources capable of creating 1,500 megawatts. OCI plans to relocate its headquarters and also a manufacturing facility to the area. Nexolon, a parts supplier, plans to move to the area. The energy staffing created by these moves should create 800 jobs.