Study Finds Economic Benefits From Passing Renewable Energy Legislation

by Erica Peterson on January 12, 2012

A report commissioned by a Kentucky non-profit supports the establishment of a statewide renewable energy standard. This is the third time legislation that would require a certain percentage of the state’s energy to come from sustainable or renewable sources has been introduced in the General Assembly.

In the past, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act hasn’t gained much traction. This year, the Mountain Association for Community and Economic Development, or MACED, commissioned a study from Boston-based Synapse Energy Economics on the bill’s economic impact.

Kristin Tracz of MACED says there needs to be more conversations about the state’s energy future.

“And I think providing data like this that gives some, not predictions, but an indication of which direction we’re headed in and the choices we have in front of us really helps to inform that conversation and we can talk more specifically about this crossroads that we’re at,” she said.

Kentucky’s days of cheap energy are nearing an end. The report found that energy costs will rise even if the state does nothing, because Kentucky’s power plants are aging and new environmental controls will make coal less economical. The analysts found that passing the renewable energy portfolio legislation would create thousands of jobs and result in smaller rate increases for consumers.

MACED president Justin Maxson says the bill should be a no-brainer, because energy costs are going to rise anyway—whether the state takes action or not.

“This sort of legislation really is a way to do something about the rising costs but do it in a way that creates 28,000 jobs and creates huge economic opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunities across the state.”

The bill’s lead sponsor is Louisville representative Mary Lou Marzian.

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