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Economic Development Forum on Renewable Energy in Kentucky

Highlights of KREC's November 17 Forum in Berea

 
Dr. Larry Shinn

Berea President Dr. Larry Shinn

On November 17, 2010, KREC held its Economic Development Forum on Renewable Energy in Kentucky on the campus of Berea College. A total of 68 speakers and attendees from a variety of backgrounds brought their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of building a renewable energy economy in Kentucky. The forum was co-sponsored by the Tennessee Valley & Eastern Kentucky Wind Working Group, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence and Energizing Kentucky.

Berea College President Dr. Larry Shinn welcomed attendees to the forum and spoke about the importance of developing a clean energy economy and Berea’s efforts to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship. Cam Metcalf, Executive Director of KPPC, then introduced Dr. Len Peters, Kentucky Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Environment, who spoke about Governor Beshear’s strategic energy plan and the opportunities for developing biomass industries in the Commonwealth.  

A total of 15 forum speakers covered a variety of topics. Dr. Kimberly Jensen and Dr. Chad Hellwinkle from the University of Tennessee and the national 25x’25 Alliance presented an overview of energy policy and climate change scenarios that might impact the agricultural sectors and economies of the U.S. They also presented key findings from a recently published study titled Implications of Energy and Carbon Policies for Agriculture and Forestry Sectors, including results for Kentucky. The full study and Kentucky data sheets can be found on the 25x'25 website.

Kate Shanks from Kentucky’s Department for Energy Development and Independence, Division of Renewable Energy, presented a study that examined the factors that are driving the renewable energy industry. Her presentation took a close look at Kentucky’s energy policies and the potential for expanding biomass production and creating local jobs.

Danny Isaacs from the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), discussed the organization's efforts to expand economic opportunities for Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties. The organization provides training, funding and research to help develop a strong and diverse economy for the region while promoting environmental sustainability.

Cam Metcalf & Katie Stokes

Katie Stokes from the Tennessee
Valley & Eastern Kentucky Wind Working Group and KPPC Executive Director Cam Metcalf

Len Peters

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Dr. Len Peters

Greg Faulkner from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), presented an overview of the organization’s mission to be a strategic partner for sustainable economic development in Appalachia. ARC provides services to 13 states and 420 counties in the region. A major part of ARC’s focus is to develop the Appalachian region’s energy potential to increase the supply of locally-produced, clean energy and to create and retain jobs.

Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies Director Dr. Bruce Pratt and George Campbell from General Atomics, presented an overview of their partnership to develop a commercial biomass to biofuel industry in Kentucky. From the center’s estimates, Kentucky could realize economic benefits of $1.4 billion and more than 4,500 new jobs by establishing commercially-viable production, harvest and transportation infrastructures.

The forum successfully presented an informative and comprehensive look at how renewable energy policies, business and research partnerships, funding opportunities and workforce development could benefit the Commonwealth by attracting investments and creating “green jobs” as we make the transition to a clean energy economy.

Attendee evaluations from the forum included some excellent suggestions and observations, as well as positive feedback...

“All in all, one of the most interesting conferences I have been to. Very nice mix of topics & well organized.”
“The workforce development information was very useful and exciting to hear. KPPC reps were very nice and welcoming.”
“Forum nicely complements work my own agency is trying to promote.”


The forum was a carbon-neutral event. Carbon offsets were purchased from the Appalachian Carbon Partnership.

MACED Carbon Offset Button

 

The 25x'25 Alliance report distributed at the forum is available as a pdf.

 
Jeff Brandt

Jeff Brandt, Manager of Alternative
and Renewable Fuels, East Kentucky Power Cooperative

 

25x'25 2010 report cover

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