Drew Details State Plan for Implementing Clean Power Plan
When the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan and the Power+ Plan recently, I came out in favor of both. Since most power plants are already on their way to compliance, the Clean Power Plan should not be a burden to Kentucky, and the investment in our rural communities from the Power+ Plan is exactly what we need to become a more prosperous and better educated state.
On September 17th in an interview with WFPL, I said that I probably wouldn't provide a state plan to the EPA because the EPA version seemed sufficient. I've since discovered that unless we do provide one, the EPA takes over and there is no recourse later to provide a state plan. As governor I'd prefer to retain control of this program, so we must provide a plan to the EPA for Kentucky to implement the Clean Power Plan.
To start with, I'm curious to see what plans others come up with. In particular, I believe Kentuckians For the Commonwealth has said they will release a plan proposal, which I'm looking forward to seeing. We have until September 2016 to produce one, so there is time to seek input from the best sources and fine tune this.
As far as specifics go, we have significant gains that could be made in energy efficiency compared to other states. Since these changes would count toward a state plan, I think we should start here. Kentucky also has some of the least energy-efficient housing. The good news here again is that there is plenty of room for improvement.
Diversification of energy production is a significant issue. 92 percent of Kentucky's energy comes from coal. We have a series of abandoned locks and dams on our rivers that could potentially be retrofitted for hydroelectric generation. There is a state law that limits the amount of power that can be pushed back on the grid from solar production, so we should look at either raising the cap or removing it.
Additionally, the EPA used 2012 as a baseline for emissions and since then we've cut emissions already, which means we have a head start on this.
We also have the option to partner with other states for compliance. We should see what neighboring states are doing and see whether or not we have some win-win possibilities there.
I'm not a fan of duplicating effort but I'm even less of a fan of relinquishing local control, so we will absolutely provide a plan to the federal government. The future of Kentucky is too important to leave this up to chance.