The4th meeting of the Special Subcommittee on Energy was held on Friday, September 19, 2008, at 10:45 AM, at the Henry Clay Building in Louisville, Kentucky. Senator Brandon Smith, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Brandon Smith, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Tom Buford, Denise Harper Angel, Ernie Harris, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Rocky Adkins, Eddie Ballard, Dwight D. Butler, Tim Couch, Will Coursey, Jim Gooch Jr., Keith Hall, Fred Nesler, Sannie Overly, Tanya Pullin, Tom Riner, and Brent Yonts.
Guests: Rep. Joni Jenkins; Rep. John W. Stacy; James Ramsey, President, University of Louisville; John A. Roush, President, Centre College; Lee Todd, President, University of Kentucky, and Larry D. Shinn, President, Berea College.
LRC Staff: D. Todd Littlefield, Committee Staff Administrator, Taylor Moore, and Susan Spoonamore, Committee Assistant.
Minutes of the August 15, 2008 meeting were approved, without objection, by voice vote upon motion made by Representative Jim Gooch and seconded by Representative Rocky Adkins.
James Ramsey, President, University of Louisville explained the background on the Energizing Kentucky Conference. He said that he and three other college Presidents recognized the importance of energy in Kentucky and joined forces to form a partnership between public and private institutions to stimulate the efforts of government, business and education leaders in creating a far-reaching and collaborative statewide energy policy, thus Energizing Kentucky.
He stated that Energizing Kentucky encompasses:
· Higher education playing an important role in framing issues, seeking solution, providing basic and applied research, and educating the next generation;
· A partnership across the Commonwealth to include business and public policy leaders, as well as those involved in education;
· Promoting a public policy discussion focused on energy for the Commonwealth of, and
· Conducting conferences to address related challenges in education, business and economic development, and the environment.
Dr. Ramsey stated that the University of Louisville is committed to accountability including financial, academic and environmental, and that the University’s primary focus is on renewable energy sources. He said that the University had developed several courses dealing with energy management and conservation, and that they were working toward offering a degree in Sustainability.
He said that the Speed School is also working in collaboration with the University of Kentucky for the development of alternative ethanol.
Dr. Ramsey stated that the University of Louisville has a program called the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center that works with school districts to reach a goal of saving five percent on energy costs. The Center also works with private businesses, non-profit businesses and public entities doing energy audits. Through this program and others, the state has been able to save over $2 million.
Dr. Ramsey said that the University of Louisville has a contract with Siemens Corporation to do an audit of all buildings on campus. As a part of that contract, Siemens has guaranteed to save the University $33 million.
Sen. Smith asked if certain criteria were used in selecting recommendations from the audit.
Dr. Ramsey stated that they do use criteria.
Lee Todd, President of the University of Kentucky, stated that they had received a $1.5 million contract from E.ON to look at carbon sequestration, along with letters of intent from E.ON, Duke, AEP, East Kentucky Power and Big Rivers. He said that UK was also working with Alltech, who just received a $30 million Department of Energy grant. From that grant, he said that UK should receive approximately $2 million to conduct basic research looking at other components of corn such as the cob and the stalk in trying to convert that to energy.
He said that UK is working with several utility companies across the state to install field demonstrations using algae systems to control carbon dioxide emissions. Algae can absorb twice its weight in carbon dioxide which can be used to make biofuels and feed for animals.
Dr. Todd stated that the University of Kentucky had received approximately $50 million in grant money to study the development of capacitors to store wind and solar energy; for renewable energy areas such as engineering and agricultural, and hydrogen fuels research.
In other areas, he said that twenty-one dormitories had been outfitted with meters so each dormitory could see their energy consumption creating competition between the dormitories. As a note, he said that during move in day UK recycles 25,000 pounds of cardboard.
Dr. Todd praised a group of engineering students who participated in and placed 11th in the 2008 North American Solar Car Challenge. He said that UK is also involved in the Solar Decathlon world competition which demonstrates running every day appliances on pure solar energy.
He also stated that UK had just received a $1.4 million federal fund announcement to build a mini-refinery using Fischer Tropsch technology and looking at sequestration issues.
Larry D. Shinn, President, Berea College, stated that even though Berea College is a small college of 1,500 students, it has been able to become an incubator for innovation. He said that in 1994, Berea College had no environmental studies program and no renovation standards that included environmental considerations.
In 2008, Berea College turned on a new Danish style low temperature heating and cooling plant. He also said that the new plant did not cost a penny more than what replacement costs would have been for the old plant. The old gas and coal-fired plant had 4-1/2 miles of steam lines which were replaced with direct burial pipe with 4 inches of insulation around it. That change alone saved the college 30% of transmission loss. In a heating budget of $2.4 million, the college saved $1.2 million.
Berea has twenty-one renovated buildings all designed to LEED silver specifications.
Rep. Smith asked Mr. Shinn to explain LEED.
Mr. Shinn stated that LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a sustainable building certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Mr. Shinn stated that every building renovated strives to achieve 45% reduction in energy use and 50% in water use. Initially they projected a 10 to 12 year payback, but now they project a payback period between 6 and 7 years.
He said that Berea College consistently tries to find ways to reduce energy costs and to reduce their energy and ecological footprint. Conservation and energy efficiency have become the key factors in Berea’s energy policy.
John A. Roush, President, Centre College, said that Centre has 1,200 students. He said that outstanding leadership from students and faculty has provided direction in issues of sustainability. He said that within the last 5 years, Centre has put approximately $80 million into new construction, all of which is either LEED certified or LEED qualified. He said eight years ago, Centre put an energy management system in place, and it paid for itself in 4 years.
Mr. Roush stated that the four college Presidents made a decision that it was time to lock arms and provide leadership in the energy policy area.
Sen. Smith asked if any of the colleges could see the development of new degrees in conservation engineering.
Mr. Shinn stated that Berea College has a sustainability minor presently which they hope to turn into a major.
Mr. Rousch said that one-third of the students at Centre major in science. They have 250 graduates each year and 100 of them are going into scientific fields.
Mr. Ramsey stated U of L does not have a major, but they are working toward that end.
Dr. Todd said that students can get certifications, but UK has no degree program currently.
Rep. Pullin stated that Kentucky has been at the forefront of energy solutions for the last three or four years. She pointed out that the Western Governors Association invited Kentucky legislators to their meeting to speak on energy issues. Kentucky is leading the charge.
Rep. Hall stated that he was very impressed with what Berea College had done, along with the other universities. It is important to co-exist efficiently, economically and environmentally but at the same time utilize utility energy sources.
Rep. Yonts stated that all the research into alternative energy is a matter of national security. We must become independent and we must move toward degrees in engineering, science, etc. in order to be competitive and sustainable as a country.
Rep. Atkins stated that the collaboration between the universities and colleges is important to energy independence. He said that as research is expanded and developed, Kentucky needs to be the place for new energy technologies. Kentucky will have to create an economy that will produce jobs for our engineers, chemists, and a highly trained work force.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 12:00 p.m.