9,000 clean energy jobs could be created in Eastern Kentucky and save Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) customers money. Folks from throughout EKPC’s service area and beyond have joined in efforts to persuade the power company to make planning decisions that would create these green jobs.
EKPC is a non-profit electric utility that provides wholesale energy to 16 rural electric cooperatives that serve 500,000 customers across 87 Kentucky counties. Ninety-seven percent of the electricity produced by EKPC comes from burning coal. Currently, it is planning to construct two additional coal-burning power plants called Smith 1 and Smith 2.
Stop Smith campaign members are effectively organizing around many reasons why creating clean energy jobs in the region is the right choice for the business and area communities. Campaign reports have shown that investing in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, such as solar hot water, hydroelectric and wind, to meet the co-op’s energy needs makes more fiscal sense for EKPC and for its consumers.
"I can’t tell you how significant this would be to an area that has lost much of its agricultural base in recent years," said KFTC member Rachel Harrod who lives in Owen County and is a member of the Owen Electric Co-op. "These investments would create thousands of jobs and well over a billion dollars in new economic activity throughout EKPC’s 87-county service area. The jobs generated by a clean energy portfolio would be a welcome boost to our local economy.”
The campaign is also building democracy throughout the service area by educating people on their role as a cooperative member, encouraging them to use their votes to create a cleaner energy future in their communities.