Kentucky could create over 28,000 jobs over 10 years and lower electricity costs by passing the clean energy legislation that is currently in front of the state's General Assembly, according to a new study from Synapse Energy Economics.
The Clean Energy Opportunity Act (H.B.167), introduced by State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-District 34, calls for the establishment of a renewable and efficiency portfolio standard (REPS), which would require utilities to obtain 12.5% of their electricity from renewable energy and achieve 10.25% cumulative savings from energy-efficiency efforts by 2022.
Synapse's study concludes that making small but significant steps to begin diversifying Kentucky's energy portfolio over the next 10 years will lower the bills of the state's residents, business owners and industrial facilities. The firm projects that, under the REPS, average annual electricity bills could be 8% to 10% lower than if an REPS were not adopted.
Furthermore, the REPS would lead to over 28,000 net new jobs in addition to any jobs lost in fossil fuels, and would add $1.5 billion to gross state product once fully implemented in 2022.
‘This study confirms that legislation to diversify our electricity portfolio would be economically beneficial to Kentucky,’ says Justin Maxson, president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. ‘The bill would allow the state to hedge against increasing rates by making homes and businesses more energy efficient, and it would spur the creation of clean energy jobs – installing renewable energy projects and making energy-efficiency upgrades.’
‘The era of cheap energy is coming to an end, and it is really a question of whether we in Kentucky take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the clean energy economy of the future," he adds.
The full Synapse report can be accessed here.