KENTUCKY

KENTUCKY

Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is famous not only for its pastures, but also for its many scenic natural landscapes — lakes, rivers, and stunning smoky mountains. Home to nearly 4.5 million people and sprawling across nearly 40 thousand square miles, Kentucky is also known for its mining industry, and has thus often found itself squarely in the center of debates around climate change, energy, and economy.

While Kentucky’s average temperature did not change significantly over the past century, most areas within the state have warmed in the last twenty years, and simultaneously an increase in average rainfall. Like many other states, Kentucky’s water supply and soil health is threatened even as precipitation increases because of longer, hotter periods between rainfalls. Parched soil is less able to absorb rain, and thus the issue becomes self-perpetuating.

Warmer temperatures will also inhibit frost and extend growing seasons, and drought is expected to reduce crop yields. Kentucky residents are expected to see a rise in extreme heat from 15 days per year today to 70 by 2050. For a state ranking consistently at the bottom of the stack for health care access and quality, this is extremely concerning. Extreme heat particularly effects people who are already vulnerable to health risks, like the elderly, the chronically sick, and historically marginalized populations.

The commercial coal industry in Kentucky dates back to the early 19th century and the state continues to produce enormous amounts of coal. It is the fifth coal-producing state in the country and over 70% of electricity generated in Kentucky is coal-fired. That proportion actually indicates a decline, as coal historically contributed over 90% of Kentucky’s electricity generation, but older power plants have become too costly to maintain in recent years although some of those plants now burn natural gas. Hydroelectric dams produced about 6% of the state’s energy in 2019.

Kentucky established The Climate Action Plan Council which submitted a report in 2011, which has not been updated since 2013. In the absence of continued state-wide action, Louisville, Kentucky’s biggest city, created its own action plan. It joined the 100 Resilient Cities Network and set forth a number of initiatives which not only work to curb emissions but also to help residents adapt to a changing climate and mitigate inequities resulting from climate change consequences. Critics say Louisville’s plan isn’t ambitious enough, as cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 still leaves Louisville falling short of emissions reductions that, according to the United Nations, are necessary to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

In April, 2021 Louisville entered a partnership with the NREL to help them map out a roadmap to reach their goals.

Kentucky STEAM Academy students walk out to bring awareness to climate change

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Fleming County Judge-Executive expresses concern over industrial solar

04/06/22
The Biden administration’s proposed decarbonization goals have created a strong push for renewable energy and some local residents are fighting back against the encroachment of “green” technology into farmlands that have always been used to…
OGM

Solar Alliance begins construction 500-kW utility solar project for LG&E and KU

04/06/22
Solar Alliance Energy Inc. is pleased to announce it has commenced construction on a 500-kilowatt solar project in Kentucky for Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, regulated utilities that serve more than…

As coal mining comes to end, this East Kentucky land is set to house renewable energy project

03/22/22
As coal continues to be mined at a Bell County site, a portion of the land will become home to a renewable energy project that would provide thousands of jobs and generate electricity for the…

Kentucky utility adds more solar as Solar Shares Program gains customers

03/14/22
Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company begin construction on fifth section of solar facility that, when complete, will provide 4MW of electricity to Solar Share subscribers.

Solar Over Louisville: New program encourages renewable energy

02/18/22
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Sustainability Council announced the Solar Over Louisville campaign Friday. It’ll give families in the area more collective buying power to get discounted wholesale rates for solar panel installation…

Louisville activists call on utilities, regulators to act on climate change

01/25/22
Louisville Metro passed a resolution in 2020 to make city government operations 100% renewable by 2035. But the city’s utility, Louisville Gas & Electric, has other plans.

Kentucky Coal Mine Will Become Giant “Water Battery” Energy Storage Project

01/10/22
Whelp, that was fast. No sooner does the Ford Motor Company put Kentucky on the clean tech map for EV battery manufacturing, when along comes the leading hydropower company Rye Development with a proposal to…

The sun shines bright on Kentucky: New solar facility to provide sustainable energy to UofL and other organizations

10/29/21
The University of Louisville is part of new power agreements between the Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company to provide more renewable energy options. As part of this ongoing commitment, the planned…

City enters partnership with National Renewable Energy Laboratory to meet 100% renewable goals

04/22/21
Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to chart a course in meeting the city’s 100% renewable-energy goals. The…

Kentucky Climate Action Plan

08/14/20
Final Report of the Kentucky Climate Action Plan Council.

KEY RESOURCES

Kentucky State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/21/21
Bordered on the north by the Ohio River, Kentucky stretches from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the flood plain of the Mississippi River in the west. In between, the rolling hills of the…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Kentucky

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Kentucky experienced two floods, three severe storms, and one freeze. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Kentucky

08/14/20
Climate Central’s analysis shows how much hotter parks are projected to get later this century.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Kentucky

07/31/20
Kentucky is Vulnerable to Climate Change

What Climate Change Means for Kentucky

07/13/20
Kentucky’s climate is changing. Although the average temperature did not change much during the 20th centur y, most of the commonwealth has warmed in the last 20 years.

Trading coal for renewable energy would create jobs in Kentucky, group says

05/05/20
Greater emphasis on energy efficiency and on producing electricity from renewable sources would create thousands of jobs in Kentucky, reduce electricity bills and help improve the health of residents by cutting pollution, according to a…

Kentucky Won’t Escape Human-Driven Climate Change, Federal Report Warns

05/05/20
The report is notably blunt: The climate is changing faster than at any point in modern civilization and the responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of mankind. The White House issued the report on Black…

Recurrence intervals based on the historical frequency

05/05/20
Descriptive information and historical data highlighting aspects of Kentucky’s climate.

What climate change means for Kentucky

05/05/20
Since Kentucky is an inland state, many people assume climate change is not a big concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States Environmental Protection Agency issued an article stating key concerns…

Sustainable Energy Solutions

05/05/20
Energy efficiency -Taking action to reduce energy use, including doing things as simple as replace traditional lightbulbs with CFL bulbs that use less energy. At a minimum, increasing energy efficiency could meet all of the…

Kentucky Green And Healthy Schools

05/05/20
Through this program, a team of students, teachers, and school administrators (a "Green Team") work together to improve the school facilities in nine different categories. For more information on the different categories, visit the Program…

Lobby your legislators about Sustainable Energy

05/04/20
Along with our partners in the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA), we support the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, expanding Kentucky's net metering law, and expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy in our schools, called the…

MORE NEWS

USDA invests over $129,000 to expand renewable energy infrastructure in rural Ky.

By Monica Watkins   09/09/21  
he United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Kentucky announced USDA awarded over $129,000 in grants to 12 rural Kentucky businesses and agricultural producers. These investment made through the Rural Energy for America Program aim…

‘If the creek is up, I’m dead’: The human toll of Kentucky’s infrastructure woes

By Adam K. Raymond  Photo: Adam K. Raymond   09/09/21  
In some ways, Stephen Lathrem feels lucky that the massive heart attack he suffered a decade ago hit when it did. “If I'd had it the next day, I wouldn’t be here talking to you,”…

Climate Change Offers More Ideal Days For Mosquitoes In Louisville

By Ryan Van Velzer  Photo: Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org   08/27/21  
Standing in a thicket of wetland woods beside a church in Newburg, entomologist Matt Vanderpool attaches the finishing touches on a mosquito trap. A purple glow lures the mosquitoes in, a bit like a bug…

New solar farm planned in Henderson County would be largest renewable energy farm yet

By Chuck Stinnett  Photo: Chuck Stinnett   08/19/21  
A major power generator is seeking state authority to build and operate a third large solar energy farm in rural Henderson County. Sebree Solar LLC proposes building a 1,200-acre solar array north and west of…

Amazon to build new solar farm in Kentucky amid renewable energy push

By Haley Cawthon  Photo: Getty Images   06/23/21  
Amazon.com Inc. has just announced 14 new renewable energy projects across the globe, and one of them will be happening here in the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky AG part of 16-state coalition against climate change disclosure

By Steve Rogers   06/15/21  
Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined a 16-state coalition Tuesday in filing comments before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to push back against a Biden Administration initiative requiring companies to make climate change disclosures…

The ‘Beef’ With Beef: Cattle, Climate Change, And Alternative Meat

By Sherry Listgarten  Photo: Liam Niemeyer   05/28/21  
Many people might think of Blake Munger as a cattle farmer as he walks through his pasture land in western Kentucky, but he sees things a little differently nowadays. “I don’t know which is more…

Inside Clean Energy: Solar Industry Wins Big in Kentucky Ruling

By Dan Gearino   05/20/21  
The people in Kentucky’s small rooftop solar industry are used to fighting for their livelihoods against utilities, but they aren’t used to winning. So a ruling last week from the Kentucky Public Service Commission was…

Kentucky Coal Production, Employment Decline Slows in 1st Quarter

By Curtis Tate  Photo: Jeff Young   05/18/21  
Kentucky coal production and employment fell by the smallest amount in nearly two years, according to new data. The state’s coal mines produced 6.5 million tons in the first three months of 2021, according to…

Newly released NOAA data shows Kentucky’s climate is now warmer, wetter

By Adam Burniston   05/13/21  
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administration, or NOAA, just released new 30-year climate normals and for Kentucky and we’ve seen some notable changes in our average temperature and precipitation. Anytime you hear the WKYT…

Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark: behind production of top-selling bourbons, a new push to go green

By Bruce Schreiner, AP   04/26/21  
The process of making fine whiskey involves aging spirits to a golden brown, but a bourbon producing giant is going green along the way. Beam Suntory, producer of top-selling Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, both…

Louisville partnering with Energize Kentucky to administer Energy Program Assessment District Program

04/22/21  
Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville Metro Government has entered into an agreement with Energize Kentucky for the administration of an Energy Project Assessment District (EPAD) program. The EPAD program allows for Louisville’s businesses…

Kentucky Ranked One of the Least Green States in America

By CityBeat Staff  Photo: Creative Commons   04/19/21  
As Earth Day approaches (on April 22), financial website WalletHub has once again released a timely report. In their "2021's Greenest States" rankings, the site looked at all 50 states to uncover which ones are…

Miners’ union backs shift from coal in exchange for jobs

By Matthew Daly Associated Press  Photo: AP Photo/J. David Ake, File   04/19/21  
The nation's largest coal miners' union said Monday it would accept President Joe Biden's plan to move away from coal and other fossil fuels in exchange for a "true energy transition" that includes thousands of…

Global warming perceptions by state: Most Americans accept human fault

By Dante Chinni   04/15/21  
It's been more than 50 years since the words "Earth Day" entered the country's environmental lexicon, and polling data show there is an increasing understanding that humans do, in fact, play a large role in…

This is How Much Renewable Energy Kentucky is Producing

By Samuel Stebbins and Grant Suneson   04/01/21  
Within weeks of taking office, President Joe Biden issued a series of executive orders aimed at making the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050. This goal hinges on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in electricity production --…

How Climate Change Explains a Soggy 2020

By Adam K. Raymond   01/22/21  
Last February, six inches of rain fell on eight southeastern Kentucky counties, burying dozens of roads beneath icy, brown flood waters and sweeping two mobile homes down the Cumberland River. In March, Paducah was pelted…

LG&E KU Propose Rate Increase Of More than $200 Per Year

By Ryan Van Velzer  Photo: J. Tyler Franklin   01/20/21  
Nearly a million Kentuckians could see their gas and electricity rates increase under a proposal from the state’s largest utility, according to a rate adjustment application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Volkswagon settlement money to pay for new cleaner-running Northern Kentucky school buses

Chris Mayhew   01/20/21  
Some Northern Kentucky schools will buy new buses using federal environmental settlement money with German-based automaker Volkswagon. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the $8.13 in awards to schools Tuesday in a news release with Energy…

This state-of-the-art indoor farm is transforming Appalachia into an agricultural powerhouse

By Adele Peters   01/19/21  
Inside a sprawling new indoor farm near the small eastern Kentucky town of Morehead, the first harvest of tomatoes is being readied to ship to grocery stores across the country. For AppHarvest, the startup running…

Kentucky PSC limits utility rate increase and protects rooftop solar – for now

01/15/21  
Last summer and fall, KFTC members and our allies fought back hard when Kentucky Power — a monopoly utility serving more than 100,000 households in eastern Kentucky — proposed to sharply raise rates in the…

New solar farm now online at Eastern Kentucky University

By Adam Burniston   01/06/21  
A new solar farm just recently went online at Eastern Kentucky University, providing clean renewable energy to some campus buildings. The solar farm on the corner of Kit Carson Drive and Lancaster Avenue is one…

Kentucky Transportation, Finance Cabinet Upgrade Roadway Lighting with LEDs

12/30/20  
“Modernizing our roadway lights with more efficient and longer lasting LEDs is a win-win strategy to stretch taxpayer dollars, improve roadway visibility and reduce the number of maintenance-related lane closures,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray.

Kentucky Power awaits state commission action on net metering reform proposal

By Kim Riley   11/25/20  
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) on Wednesday finished an eight-day formal hearing on Kentucky Power Company’s net metering rate reform filing.

Voices Of 100%: Louisville’s Clean Energy Pledge Takes On Multiple Crises

By John Farrell   11/20/20  
Where do local climate and clean energy goals lie in the priority list, when the COVID-19 induced economic crisis and the crisis of racial inequality are so pressing?

Formal hearings get under way on Kentucky Power’s net metering reform request

By Kim Riley   11/17/20  
State regulators this week began a series of formal hearings on a first-of-a-kind filing by Kentucky Power Company, which seeks net metering rate reform.

Pioneering in renewable energy: college installs Solar Smartflower

By Lane Ball  Photo by Lane Ball   11/16/20  
Rooftop solar panels are a fairly common sight these days, as are solar arrays. Now, a new wave of solar energy products have made their way to eastern Kentucky. At the Ashland Community and Technical…

Louisville Among New Entrants on CDP’s Annual ‘A-List’ Cities Ranking

By Kate Zerrenner   11/16/20  
Today CDP released its latest list of “A cities” — cities around the world that are leaders in environmental action. To make the grade, a city must have, among other things, conducted a city-wide emissions inventory, set an…

Kentucky Power Seeks To Devalue Rooftop Solar, Raise Rates In Eastern Kentucky

By Ryan Van Velzer   11/09/20  
In the first case of its kind, an eastern Kentucky utility has asked regulators to diminish the value of the renewable energy that rooftop solar customers add to the electric grid.

From immigration to health care, how will a Biden presidency impact Kentucky?

By Chris Kenning   11/07/20  
From immigration and the economy to health care and LGBTQ rights, President-elect Joe Biden promises to bring significant changes to Kentuckians — even as he faces the potential of a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate intent on obstructing him.

Commercial Chiller Plant Energy Savings in Kentucky

10/18/20  
Our GREENandSAVE Staff is always on the lookout for cost-effective energy savings to help businesses in Kentucky become more sustainable. The Energy Intelligence Center has developed some excellent Chiller Plant Energy Savings ranging from 15% to 40% via…

Mayor proclaims today Energy Efficiency Day in Louisville

10/07/20  
Mayor Greg Fischer proclaimed today Energy Efficiency Day in Louisville, saying the global climate crisis is also a health issue. “Climate change is a global health crisis, and as we have seen with the COVID-19…

Kentucky’s climate is changing. Will its politics?

By Andrew McCormick  Photo by Getty Images   09/25/20  
April 15. That’s the traditional frost-free date in Schochoh, the small community in south-central Kentucky, where Sam Halcomb and his family own and operate Walnut Grove Farms.

Kentucky’s climate is suffering. Can the state slip the industry ties that prevent change?

By Andrew McCormick   09/24/20  
April 15. That’s the traditional frost-free date in Schochoh, the small community in south-central Kentucky, where Sam Halcomb and his family own and operate Walnut Grove Farms. Before then, the soft red winter wheat that…

Cities With the Highest Flood Risk in Every State

By Andrew Lisa   08/23/20  
Floods accounted for three of the 14 natural disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage in the United States in 2019. In total, flooding impacted 14 million Americans last year and put another…

Mitigating and Preparing for Climate Change

08/14/20  
The impacts of climate change are being experienced in Louisville with more intense heat waves, bigger storms, and increased flooding. These changes affect all sectors of our communities, including human health, natural resources, infrastructure, emergency…

1,700-acre solar-energy farm proposed to be built on Henderson-Webster county line

By Chuck Stinnett   05/27/20  
A nearly 1,700-acre solar-energy farm — which would be the largest in Kentucky — is proposed to be developed on the Henderson-Webster county line to generate power for Big Rivers Electric Corp., the Henderson-based power…

Ky Coal Association: Renewable Energy Is Not Reliable And Shouldn’t Be Subsidized

By Tyler White   05/27/20  
As the federal government contemplated how to help people hurt by the pandemic and lockdown, the renewable energy industry was scrambling behind the scenes to use the COVID-19 rescue package to extend something called the…

Dept. of Energy announces $450K in grants for Kentucky

05/22/20  
U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced Thursday that the Department of Energy (DOE) will award 256 grants totaling $53 million to 211 small businesses in 35 states and the District of Columbia. These awards…

Knoxville City Council on Climate and Energy: Amelia Parker

By Brady Watson   05/22/20  
Amelia Parker was sworn in as a City Council member At-Large, seat C on Dec. 21, 2019. Her current term ends in December of 2023.

Kentucky PSC approves LG&E/KU to provide solar power to Toyota and Dow

By Chris Galford   05/13/20  
Under new renewable power agreements (RPA) approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) this week, the Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) will be able to provide solar power…

Energy and Environment announces $600,000 in program grants

05/13/20  
Gov. Andy Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced Wednesday more than $600,000 in U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program (SEO) grants will support Kentucky education, reduce the energy burden…

Ky. must step up renewable energy

Photo by Greg Kocher   05/04/20  
Charles Snavely, a coal company executive for 35 years before Gov. Matt Bevin made him secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, also said that the cabinet is working with companies to develop renewable energy…

Kentucky town saw 55 PERCENT reduction in air pollution after local coal plant closed

Michael Thomsen   04/16/20  
A new study shows a major decrease in air pollution and hospitalizations due to respiratory conditions following the closure of a coal burning power plant in Louisville, Kentucky.
AP

Asthma Hospitalizations Dropped after Louisville Power Plants Retired Coal or Installed Better Emission Controls

By Tim Paul   04/13/20  
After four Louisville, Kentucky, coal-fired power plants either retired coal as their energy source or installed stricter emission controls, local residents’ asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits dropped dramatically, according to research…

Louisville Is Kentucky’s First City To Commit To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman   02/26/20  
Louisville became Kentucky’s first city to pledge to use only renewable energy by 2035 for municipal operations and community-wide by 2040. It is the 160th city nationwide to make this commitment.

First Kentucky City Commits to 100% Renewable Energy

02/07/20  
For nearly 10 years, Louisville has made steady progress towards reducing its carbon footprint. In 2016, Mayor Fischer signed the Global Covenant of Mayors, thereby committing to cut emissions and prepare for climate change impacts.…

Louisville Leaps Toward Renewable Energy Future

By Ryan Van Velzer   02/07/20  
Moments after Metro Council voted in support of a resolution to reach 100 percent renewable energy for the city of Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the next steps.

Corporate renewable demand prompts coal-heavy Kentucky utilities to build solar

By Bill Estep   01/24/20  
“As we continue to evolve with our customers’ increased demands for renewable energy, we are partnering with them to create customized solutions, as we’ve done in this case, to help them grow and prosper in…

You won’t believe where Kentucky ranks among worst states for climate change in this study

By Sarah Ladd   01/13/20  
If you came to Kentucky from a coastal state hoping to put off feeling the effects of climate change, you have our deepest sympathies.