The6th meeting of the Special Subcommittee on Energy was held on Friday, November 20, 2009, at 10:00 AM, at General Electric, Appliance Park, Louisville, Kentucky. Senator Brandon Smith, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Brandon Smith, Co-Chair; Representative Keith Hall, Co-Chair; Senators David E. Boswell, Dorsey Ridley, Katie Kratz Stine, Gary Tapp, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Rocky Adkins, Eddie Ballard, Dwight D. Butler, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Jim Gooch Jr., Harry Moberly Jr., Tom Riner, Fitz Steele, and Brent Yonts.
Guests: Representative Larry Clark; Representative John Will Stacy; Jim Campbell, President and CEO, General Electric; Kevin Nolan, Vice President, Technology, General Electric; Jerry Carney, President, Local 761, IUE-CWA; Dr. Mahendra Sunkara, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville, and Rodney Andrews, Executive Director, Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky.
LRC Staff: D. Todd Littlefield, CSA, Taylor Moore, and Susan Spoonamore, Committee Assistant.
The October 7, 2009 minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon motion made by Sen. Boswell and seconded by Rep. Combs.
Sen. Smith introduced Jim Campbell, President and CEO of General Electric, Consumer and Industrial. Mr. Campbell gave a presentation on Energy Efficient and Demand-Response Appliances. Ecomagination, GE’s innovative solutions to environmental challenges, represents their commitment to renewable energy and the environment. He explained that the plant in Louisville is the global headquarters of GE Consumer and Industrial that includes appliances, lighting and electrical distribution. The plant was established in 1953, and has 5,000 employees. The business contributes $425 million each year to the Louisville economy, and has invested $500 million in Louisville since 2001.
Mr. Campbell stated that GE supports the governor’s 2008 Strategy for Energy Independence including coal gasification. General Electric is marketing products that will save money for consumers including the hybrid electric water heater, an energy monitoring system in the home, and smart appliances.
Kevin Nolan, Vice President, Technology, General Electric, discussed GE’s progress on making their products more energy efficient.
Jerry Carney, President, Local 761, IUE-CWA stated that their union has had to change their way of doing business in order to be competitive. Labor and management are working together to keep good jobs in Kentucky.
Rep. Gooch asked if it would help GE to be more competitive at Appliance Park if the low carbon portfolio standard included clean coal. Mr. Campbell stated that it would. GE looks at profitability and stability.
Sen. Boswell asked if General Electric would look at the facility in Owensboro to see if it might be utilized for some of the green technology. If not, the 109 employees still there will most likely lose their jobs in the near future.
Rep. Adkins asked what would happen to GE and Appliance Park if the utility rates in Kentucky were to rise. Mr. Campbell stated that even a slight increase in the utility rates could make a difference as to where the products could be built competitively.
Rep. Hall asked if GE anticipated bringing more jobs or projects to Kentucky. Mr. Campbell stated that GE is evaluating another big potential move to Kentucky. He said that incentives could play a big part in that decision.
Chairman Smith introduced Dr. Mahendra K. Sunkara, Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship (CRERES), University of Louisville. Dr. Sunkara updated the Committee on the Center’s work on several cutting edge technologies including materials manufacturing, solar, biofuels and energy storage. It is hoped that advances in these areas will lead to jobs in the building sector and the transportation fuels sector among others.
Chairman Smith asked if storage was the main problem with solar power. Dr. Sunkara stated that was correct. If a home installs solar panels, the owner must have a battery system as well, unless the home can also buy power from the grid.
Sen. Stine asked if the patents pending were jointly held by the University of Louisville and the researchers, and asked who receives the revenue from the patents that are licensed. Dr. Sunkara stated that all patents are assigned to the University of Louisville. The Center is in the process of filing several patents and in another five to ten years, the Center should see revenue returns. He said at that point, the Center should become self-sufficient.
Chairman Smith introduced Rodney Andrews, Director, Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky. He briefed the committee on how Kentucky is planning for carbon constraint mandated at the federal level.
Chairman Smith asked why the cost of producing natural gas was not included along with coal, wind, hydroelectric, solar, and biomass. Mr. Andrews stated that ASA Fossil Fuel could be substituted on the chart for coal, but at a higher cost.
Mr. Andrews said that even using all the renewable energy available to Kentucky, the state would still require 78% of its electricity to come from coal or natural gas in 2025. Kentucky has to develop methods to burn coal cleanly and to reduce carbon emissions. Mr. Andrews explained that CAER has a post-combustion CO2 capture pilot plant, along with a Carbon Management Research Group to address reducing the energy required to capture carbon
Sen. Boswell asked if Mr. Andrews agreed with Dr. Sunkara that carbon capture, such as gasification is unproven. Mr. Andrews stated that gasification technologies have been proven.
Sen. Smith asked why the Hancock County sequestration project would need to purchase CO2. Mr. Andrews stated that food grade CO2 is the only CO2 which is commercially available. The project in Hancock County bought 323 tons at $165 a ton.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 12:00 p.m.