A Cooperative Approach to Renewing East Kentucky

Our good friend Randy Wilson has co-authored a terrific article with Sara Pennington (both of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth) that is a vision of how a green energy economy might look. The piece appears in Solutions, an aptly named journal devoted to finding solutions to our most pressing problems.

From the abstract:
“This article explores one part of the Appalachian Transition solution that can be ramped up in a short period of time and can start to bring the region toward a more sustainable economy: the Renew East Kentucky plan. We propose that the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), a rural electric co-op made up of 16 distribution co-ops serving 87 counties in the state, launch an aggressive, well-funded, five-year initiative in the EKPC service area in cooperation with local, state, and national agencies and organizations. This proposal presents concrete steps, such as expanding residential efficiency and weatherization programs, funding the projects through new, creative on-bill financing with low-interest loans from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, and installing local renewable energy projects, such as small-scale hydroelectric at existing dams. This program could create thousands of local jobs and, by diversifying the regional energy portfolio, yield additional economic benefit to struggling families. It would work in collaboration with ongoing regional efforts in affordable housing and more recent efforts to re-tool Kentucky’s workforce for green energy jobs. The proposal may serve as a road map for transition in other areas.”

Read the full article here

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