Kentucky Clean Energy Corps

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Kentucky Clean Energy Corps


Mission and Future

The mission of the Kentucky Clean Energy Corps is to harness the resources of government, business, education and nonprofit sectors to make eligible homes 20-30 percent more energy efficient[[1]], saving low-income families money and thereby reducing the demand for utility assistance funds currently available to assist these families. The program also helps protecting the environment by promoting easy, everyday steps that everyone can take to capture energy savings and reduce carbon emissions in their homes, while engaging Kentuckians—particularly our youngest and greenest generation—in volunteer service for their neighbors and their communities, as well as creating or sustaining jobs in the struggling housing construction sector. [1] The program initially received $1 million dollars of funding[2]

“Our pilot program is an important beginning. But it is only a beginning,” stated Finance and Administration Sec. Jonathan Miller, who is overseeing the state’s efforts with the Clean Energy Corps. “We are very hopeful that we can leverage federal stimulus funds to take this program statewide, generating thousands of new ‘green collar’ jobs in Kentucky and providing a real shot in the arm to our sluggish economy.”

As part of a pilot program in Lexington and rural Bourbon and Clark counties, 100 low to moderate-income families will receive an energy audit to determine leaks in the building envelope and energy efficiency education and energy savings tips. The program also identifies options for energy efficiency rehabilitation, including the insulation of ducts, attics, walls and ceilings; the replacement of inefficient appliances and heat pumps; replacement of leaky doors and windows; the repair and upgrade of unsafe electrical equipment; and the repair or replacement of roofing, siding and foundations.

Select homes in the pilot program will test cutting-edge efficiency and renewable energy strategies. All Kentucky Utilities (KU) customers participating in the pilot will have their existing electric meters replaced with a Smart Energy meter to monitor and document real-time energy usage. The Smart Energy meter displays electricity usage on an in-home energy monitor, which allows customers to become more aware of when they are using the most electricity. The meter is a tool to help homeowners make better choices in their energy use.

The pilot program is a public/private partnership. Eighty percent of the funding comes from federal and state energy efficiency and low-income housing grant and loan programs. The remaining 20 percent comes from private contributions, both cash and in-kind, from individuals, corporations and organizations. Each household will be evaluated as to its ability to use energy savings to repay all or some of the costs. Any repayments will be recycled to assist new families. KU and East Kentucky Power are serving as the state’s key partners in the pilot project.

The ultimate goal of the pilot is to help prepare and guide what is hoped to be a dramatic expansion of KCEC in the coming months. The program hopes to expand to 10,000 homes across the commonwealth in the next year.

The Clean Energy Corps is working with partners at the Kentucky Community College and Technical System (KCTCS) and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to establish the commonwealth as a national center for green collar job training, creation and development.

“At a time of severe hardship in the construction sector, retrofitting residential buildings to cut energy use can save consumers money, expand economic growth, reduce pollution and create jobs,” said Bracken Hendricks, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The Clean Energy Corps provides a national model to capture this opportunity on a large scale. And Kentucky is at the forefront, proving that this model works, through the Kentucky Clean Energy Corps pilot program, launched with the leadership of Governor Steve Beshear.”


Beshear newberry.jpg


Program Efficiency

The efficiency of the program must be called into question once it's details are carefully looked at. Given that the program will cost $1 million dollars with the goal of reducing energy costs by 20-30% for 100 homes, it equates to $10,000 dollars being spent to upgrade substandard housing. This program is happening, even though a Kentucky State Government Energy Strategy stated that Kentucky has the most affordable energy rates in the nation.

When looking at energy saving tips from the Alliance to Save Energy, the ASE estimates (by using various statistics from federal agencies) that energy bills can already be reduced by over 20% for less than $150 dollars:

  • A $100 dollar programmable thermostat will reduce energy use by 15%
  • Reducing the average temperature of a home (costing nothing) will reduce energy costs by 5%
  • Using cold, instead of hot water for washing clothing
  • Caulking windows and doors (caulk costs less than $2 dollars a tube) can significantly reduce energy costs

In light of these statistics, it seems that the program may be wasting over $9,800 dollars per home, while fixing problems that individual home owners should have already fixed themselves.

New appliances

One of the goals of the pilot program is to give new energy efficient appliances to underprivileged citizens of the state.


Below is an image of Governor Beshear looking at Leona Pena's new refrigerator, which was 80% subsidized by taxpayers.

Refrigerator.jpg


Other Links

References

  1. Governor Beshear, First Lady Launch Pilot Program of Kentucky’s Clean Energy Corps