In mid-August, the Kentucky General Assembly will return to Frankfort to consider energy legislation. The stated purpose is to enact tax incentives in order to attract a coal gasification project that Peabody Energy recently announced will be built in the Midwest.
KRC believes that the focus of an energy bill should not be creating new financial incentives for coal gasification to coal-to-liquid plants, but instead should be improving incentives for energy efficiency in all sectors, and creating incentives for research, development and demonstration in carbon capture and sequestration and in fuels and power supplies that reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.
We should not invest public monies in supporting deployment of fossil fuel-based gasification or coal-to-liquid fuel technologies unless carbon emissions are addressed by the companies in order to move us towards the reductions needed to mitigate climate change.
Investment in R&D for large-scale demonstration of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as part of a larger, balanced portfolio of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, is more prudent than underwriting the commercial deployment of the current coal gas and coal to liquid technology that provides neither efficiency nor a carbon solution. The most important state investment as a hedge against the impacts of a mandatory carbon reduction program is energy efficiency. Some refined variant of coal-to liquids may be part of the energy future, but only if the process can be made more efficient and carbon capture and disposition can be achieved.
The General Assembly should take this opportunity to significantly improve House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 1 with respect to energy efficiency, and with respect to creating incentives and lowering barriers to investment in renewables and for diversification of state electric power provider portfolios.
KRC believes that any energy legislation should:
* Restrict incentives for coal or biomass conversion to technologies that result in net reductions of atmospheric carbon loading.
* Include significant funding increases for comprehensive investigation into carbon capture and sequestration to the Center for Applied Energy Research and Kentucky Geological Survey.
* Require as a condition of financial incentives, a comprehensive life-cycle analysis of environmental impact and risk, feasibility study and a comparative assessment of alternative investment strategies that would yield comparable production of energy or reduction of demand.
* Include a strategy to develop a balanced portfolio of state and local investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
If you want to be heard on these issues, contact the General Assembly members by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.