A bill that would require a certain percentage of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources is scheduled for a hearing in the Kentucky House of Representatives tomorrow. The bill has little chance of passage this late in the session, but its advocates are hoping to set the stage for next year.
House Bill 167—the Clean Energy Opportunity Act—would gradually increase the percentage of Kentucky’s energy that’s from renewable sources. Right now, about 94 percent of the state’s energy comes from coal. If the bill ever becomes law, that will have to change and at least 12.5 percent of the commonwealth’s energy will have to come from renewable sources within ten years.
Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian is the bill’s lead sponsor. This is the third year she’s introduced the bill, and says she’s working to make sure legislators realize the legislation isn’t anti-coal.
“We are not attacking coal,” she said. “We recognize that coal is very important as we know that we have a lot of legislators from the coal counties. And I think what they’re hearing is that this is an alternative. This is a thing that will help create jobs and it creates green jobs that stay in Kentucky.”
Marzian says she intends to introduce the legislation again next year, and hopes that eventually it will build up enough support to become law.
“I think we have seven or eight co-sponsors this session and it’s a learning process,” she said. “It took us about eight years to pass a tobacco tax, so I am very optimistic that in the future, next couple of years, that this will gain a lot of support.”
An analysis commissioned by the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance found the legislation would create a net gain of 29,000 jobs in the commonwealth by the time it’s fully implemented.