Kentucky has been awarded a grant to assist local government efforts to reduce energy consumption in public facilities. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through the State Energy Program, awarded the three-year, $715,000 grant to Kentucky to conduct energy efficiency upgrades in local government facilities and to develop policies and programs that help reduce energy waste and save taxpayers money.
These investments are part of the DOE's national strategy to create jobs, boost domestic manufacturing in energy-saving technologies and help American families and businesses save money. Through the grant, Kentucky will launch the Local Government Retrofit Program. Read the Governor's press release.
From the 25x'25 Alliance REsource newsletter
The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy and Japan, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The report also finds that in the last decade the United States has made "limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level," putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe. The 25x'25 Alliance holds efficiency to be the option of first choice in achieving a clean energy future.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE's approach to energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 12 of the world's largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. These 12 economies represent more than 78 percent of global gross domestic product, 63 percent of global energy consumption and 62 percent of the global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions. On a scale of 100 possible points in 27 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows:
ACEEE divided the 27 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country: buildings, industry and transportation. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are Germany for national efforts, China for buildings, the United Kingdom for industry and a tie among Italy, China, Germany and the United Kingdom in transportation.
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said the UK and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. "This is significant because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources and creating jobs," he said. "Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized.
"While many countries achieved notable success, none received a perfect score in any category, proving that there is much that all countries can still learn from each other," he said. He cited as an example the fact that the United States scored relatively high in buildings, but was at the bottom of the list in transportation.
ACEEE says its report raises a critical question: How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? The new report outlines a number of recommendations for the United States.
A recently released report from Downstream Strategies titled: “The Opportunities for Distributed Energy in Kentucky" illustrate Kentucky’s potential for small-scale renewable energy. The report shows that if the state pursued renewable energy opportunities to their fullest potential, small-scale renewable energy could provide up to 34 percent of Kentucky’s electricity demand by 2025.
The report defined distributed energy generation as “the generation of electricity and heat, or the capture and reuse of waste heat, at or near the point of consumption,” and recommends that the state institute policies that encourage distributed renewable energy.
People often imagine renewable energy as large, centralized solar plants. However, small-scale renewable energy is possible and a practical option in Kentucky. Rather than relying on large power plants, distributed energy generation would allow for on-site energy supplies and local ownership. Local ownership of energy supplies creates more jobs and allows more money to stay in local communities, which would be of great benefit to Kentucky’s economy.
Although it would require many policy changes to reach this potential, transitioning to increased use of these energy resources is possible. Renewable technology is already being used throughout many states, and in Kentucky there are electric co-ops that illustrate the possibility for small-scale renewable energy. “These aren’t technologies of the future,” Rory McIlmoil of Downstream Strategies said.
According to McIlmoil, Kentucky has a greater solar resource than New Jersey, the state that leads the east coast in solar energy, and Germany, which leads the world. Harnessing more of the sun’s power through solar panel installations, for example, would create more jobs by allowing for local labor, as well as installers and engineers. Read the article on the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance website.
The global solar marketplace has a huge glut of solar panels and solar cells. This is the top reason why solar panel prices have plunged in the past year or so. And China’s tremendous manufacturing output is certainly a big part of that oversupply.
Now, it seems the country is looking to help relieve that glut a lot more by quadrupling its 2015 solar power targets. The new 2015 target is reportedly 21 GW of installed solar power capacity. This is quadruple its initial 2015 target.
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has two workshops coming up in August. The workshops will be held in Nashville, Indiana, about 87 miles (1.5 hours) from Louisville. Registration is required and there is a fee for the workshops.
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.