The Mississippi Technology Alliance’s Strategic Biomass Solutions (SBS) has an evolving organizational mission. SBS's original focus was on looking for ways to expand the market for Mississippi’s agricultural products via the energy sector, the organization’s strategic direction has taken a more entrepreneurial bent in recent years and goes far beyond the borders of Mississippi. The foundation for SBS can be traced back to 2002, when the Mississippi legislature, spearheaded by Mississippi House of Representatives Speaker Bill McCoy, explicitly expanded the focus of the Mississippi Land, Water and Timber Resources Board to include the promotion and development of alternative energy technologies and businesses based on Mississippi’s natural resources.
The SBS report is part of the SAFER Southern Bioeconomy Case Study Series, which is a project of the Southeast Agriculture & Forest EnergyResources Alliance (SAFER) with funding from EnergyFoundation.The entire report (in pdf format) is available on the SAFER website.
A poll of small business owners in Virginia shows they overwhelmingly support government investments in clean energy and believe the investments have an important role in creating jobs and boosting the economy.
Released this week by the Small Business Majority, the poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that 78 percent of Virginia small business owners agree government has a role in driving the country toward a cleaner, more competitive economy.
The small business owners registered support for continued government investment in clean energy technologies, even when asked specifically about Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar cells that went bankrupt after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee. The poll also found strong support for new and current Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards that require a reduction in greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions, even if it means a possible increase in utility prices.
"Small businesses are eager for pragmatic energy policies that can help them develop new technologies and increase business opportunities," said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. "They understand that to survive in this tough economy they need creative solutions to curb costs and increase their competitive edge. These include continued government investments in clean energy and the enforcement of standards that reduce harmful emissions in their communities."
While respondents indicated overall support for government investment in general, specific government actions are even more popular. The owners expressed overwhelming support for 14 separate actions the federal government could take to support moving to a clean energy economy. Setting standards that require utilities to meet a certain percentage of energy demand through renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-fuels, and increasing automotive efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon in cars and light trucks were steps that were supported by 79 percent of the owners surveyed.
Press Release from the Governor's Office FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 24, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced the awarding of nearly $700,000 in On-Farm Energy Efficiency and Production grants from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF).
“In January, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, which I chair, announced the availability of $2 million from KADF to continue providing farmers the opportunity to increase farm energy efficiency or renewable energy production,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am pleased to announce that through the first round of applications, 81 farm families from 36 counties were able to take advantage of this opportunity.”
The on-farm energy incentives program provides 25 percent reimbursement of the actual cost of a qualified energy saving item, up to $10,000. Permissible items include, but are not limited to, energy audits, energy efficient farm building components, on-farm energy upgrades and on-farm energy efficiency training.
Examples of on-farm efficiency investments include Henkle’s Herbs & Heirlooms, of Jessamine County, for greenhouse improvements and Gray Poultry Farm, of Clinton County, for poultry house improvements. Examples of renewable energy investments include Kelley Farms, of Carlisle County, to invest in solar panels for their farm operations and Mac Farms, of Taylor County, for an anaerobic digester to produce gas for heating poultry houses. The 2012 KADF On-farm Energy Efficiency and Production Incentives Program is designed to help achieve the goals of Gov. Beshear’s “Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future: Kentucky’s 7-Point Energy Strategy,” and will be part of the effort to meet 18 percent of Kentucky’s energy needs from efficiency improvements by 2025.
For questions about the application process for the KADF On-farm Energy Incentives Program, please contact Bill McCloskey or Angie Justice at 502-564-4627 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application is also available online at ag-energy.ky.gov. The deadline for Round 2 applications is June 30. A full description of the program is available on the KADF website.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an updated list of the Top 50 Green Power Partnership organizations voluntarily using clean, renewable electricity from resources such as solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Intel Corporation tops the list as the largest single user of green power, followed by Kohl’s Department Stores and Microsoft Corporation. Combined, the Top 50 partners are using more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually. Through their use of green power, these top organizations are avoiding carbon pollution equal to that created by the electricity use of more than 1.3 million American homes each year.
EPA’s Green Power Partnership works with more than 1,300 partner organizations, over half of which are small businesses and nonprofit organizations, to voluntarily use green power. Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies, and produce significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
“We applaud all of our Green Power Partners for their use of clean, renewable energy. For the first time, each of the Top 50 partners is using more than 100 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Their actions help to reduce harmful carbon pollution that threatens the health of our planet and the air we breathe, and mark another step toward a new era of clean, innovative American energy.”
Intel has ranked number one on the list since 2008 and uses more than 2.5 billion kWh annually, or 88 percent of the company’s nationwide electricity use. Microsoft, which holds the number three spot, and McDonald’s USA LLC, which ranks eleventh, are new to the list.
The Green Power Partnership also updated the rankings of the 100 Percent Green Power Users list, which highlights close to 700 partners using green power for their entire electricity load, as well as its Top 20 Retailers and Top 20 Local Governments lists. Kohl’s ranks number one on both the Top 20 Retailers and 100 Percent Green Power Users lists while the City of Houston ranks number one on the Top 20 Local Governments list.
The common wisdom is wrong – there is no political "fault line" that divides Americans along party lines when it comes to clean energy issues and solutions. Majorities of Republicans, Independents and Democrats agree that the United States should move away from its reliance on dirty energy sources that foul the air and water and toward a future that makes greater use of clean energy sources, according to a major new ORC International survey conducted for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI).
A key finding: More than three out of four Americans (76 percent) - including 58 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats -- think that the United States should move to a sustainable energy future through "a reduction in our reliance on nuclear power, natural gas and coal, and instead, launch a national initiative to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency."
However, the bipartisan support for clean energy does not mean that Americans think that Washington, D.C., is on the same page with them. More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) - including 70 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Independents, and 85 percent of Democrats -- believe that "the energy industry's extensive and well-financed public relations, campaign contributions and lobbying machine is a major barrier to moving beyond business as usual when it comes to America's energy policy."
As a result, more than eight out of 10 Americans (83 percent) - including 69 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats -- agree with the following statement: "The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future. Congress is debating large public investments in energy and we need to take action to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support renewable energy-- one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans."
Join the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) for its second annual Energy Conference in Louisville. The conference will provide manufacturing companies and stakeholders in the manufacturing sector with information regarding energy and Kentucky.
National and state-level industry leaders will conduct general sessions over the two-day conference. Participants will learn best energy practices from KAM members, strategies to capitalize on short-term opportunities with long-term thinking, secure workable solutions and tangible take-a-ways, and discover transition strategies to make facilities and operations more energy efficient. The conference will also provide attendees with an opportunity to explore a robust and diverse trade show targeted to energy in the manufacturing sector.
A legislative panel discussion will be held on June 13 during which attendees will have the opportunity to hear how members of the Kentucky General Assembly are responding to issues associated with manufacturing and energy.
Make plans to join KPPC for breakout work sessions on day two of the KAM conference.
For registration and additional conference information, visit KAM's website.
The Kentucky Solar Partnership and Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest, with the support of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service, and Kentucky State University, present a series of introductory and advanced training classes on solar photovoltaics, solar water heating systems, and trends in the US solar energy industry.
Full workshop descriptions and registration information can be found at the Kentucky Solar website and in the Workshop Guide. Financial support is available to residents of eastern Kentucky in the form of low-interest loans to cover registration fees and grants to cover travel expenses.
KREC would like to publish your thoughts on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky in the "Members' Forum". Please send your opinions, articles or news about RE happenings in the Commonwealth to KREC@kppc.org. A short piece is preferable (300 or fewer words work best).
Make your voice heard – we want to give KREC members a forum to spread the word about renewable energy efforts and issues.