By Rachel Leber
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Environment Cabinet (EEC) Secretary Charles Snavely announced seven Kentucky organizations that will share more than $1.6 million in grant funding to promote efficient technologies and practices in public and private-sector buildings on July 25. The grant money was long awaited, as the funds came from a settlement agreement in 2011 that had not yet been fully distributed. The organizations receiving grants include education, utility service, local government and wastewater treatment.
In 2011, Kentucky was involved in a federal court settlement of an enforcement action under the federal Clean Air Act that resulted in a consent decree with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) headquartered out of Knoxville, Tenn. Part of this decree obligated TVA to provide Kentucky $11.2 million to fund environmental mitigation projects as reparations to the violation. The EEC received applications and awarded projects in 2012 totaling $11.2 million, but not all projects used all of the paid amounts during the specified agreement periods. The EEC issued a request for proposals earlier this year to award the unused funds that remained undesignated until Snavely’s recent announcement.
Among the organizations, projects and programs that received grants are Botanica Inc., with an award of $375,000 to support the development of a net-zero energy visitor education center at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens in Louisville, Ky.; the Butler County Water System in Morgantown, Ky., with $37,000 awarded to support an energy-efficiency project at the Butler County Water Treatment Plant; and the Kentucky Department for Local Government in Frankfort that was awarded $375,000 to provide continuing support to local governments to undertake comprehensive energy efficiency projects.
Additionally, the Jackson Energy Cooperative was awarded $28,540 in support of a solar-plus energy storage demonstration project at the corporate offices in McKee, Ky., and the Owsley County Board of Education in Booneville, Ky., was awarded $335,896 for an energy project at the Owsley County Elementary School. The University of Louisville Research Foundation Inc. was awarded $105,426 for the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center to implement a building operator certification program; and the Warren County Public Schools that received an award of $375,000 to support solar installations on net-zero ready or ENERGY STAR–certified schools.
“These projects represent innovative initiatives that provide long-term benefits to the citizens of Kentucky,” said Snavely in a statement. “Some projects build upon existing programs that have already demonstrated the value of investments in energy efficiency while other projects integrate new technologies and practices in areas that support infrastructure in local communities.”