Gardner Interviewed on NPR About Renewable Energy in Kentucky
Former Kentucky Public Service Commission Chairman, and current Sturgill Turner utilities and energy attorney, Jim Gardner, was recently interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition program. Corporations are shifting their focus to renewable energy, with some setting coals of becoming zero-carbon – even in Kentucky where 90 percent of our power comes from coal. Attracting these renewable-focused corporations to expand in Kentucky is a challenge that requires cooperation from the utility providers. An excerpt from Jim’s interview is included below, or you may listen to the full story here.
“The future is renewables and the large corporations that want renewables,” says Jim Gardner, who used to regulate power companies as a member of Kentucky’s Public Service Commission.
Two years ago, Gardner was struck by an encounter with a local man who worked remotely for Facebook. He told Gardner that big corporations were actually deciding where to expand based on where they could get renewable energy.
“He made it seem like there was literally a list with a lot of states with big X’s marked in,” says Gardner, “so that Facebook and others were not looking because [some states] were not going to be open to renewables.”
The Public Service Commission worried the state was missing out. It quietly issued an official statement — “a clear signal to people outside of the state,” says Gardner — that if a big customer wanted renewable energy, Kentucky’s utilities could cut a special deal to provide it.
That gave utilities permission to offer renewable energy. But they still face challenges to produce it.