Sometimes, state government makes one want to do a double take and say something intelligent like “huh?” A huh moment came recently when a press release from the state on its new program to loan money to itself using the “Green Bank of Kentucky”.
According to the press release from the Finance Cabinet:
“The “Green Bank of Kentucky” program will allow state government energy-efficiency projects to compete for low-interest loans that can be paid back through the energy savings generated. Gov. Beshear made the announcement at the site of one of the first projects expected to submit a loan application to the Green Bank: Kentucky Educational Television’s (KET) network center in Lexington.”
KET plans to apply for $1.25 million to fund improvements including new energy-efficient lighting and appliances; smart energy temperature controls; water conservation; weather stripping; and a chemical-free water treatment system. The improvements are expected to save the nationally respected public broadcasting agency more than $100,000 a year in utility costs.
More than $18.75 million in funding available through the federal stimulus program will be allocated to the Green Bank revolving loan fund. Funds will also be available for the purchase of hardware and software for state building management systems to triple Energy Savings Performance Contract activity for state buildings.
The Green Bank emerged from the Governor’s comprehensive energy plan, “Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future,” which establishes the goal of reducing projected statewide energy demand by 25 percent by 2025 through multiple strategies, including energy-efficiency measures.”
and so on…
New jobs? In Lexington? Sure. Why not? The unemployment rate in Fayette County is a dismal 8.2% compared to the state average of over 11%.
And KET? Please. Didn’t KET undergo a major refit just a few years ago? I distinctly remember redesigned studios and power being generated outside the building while the remodeling went on. Shouldn't energy efficiency been addressed then?
I cannot say to be impartial about the choice of KET as the first to get a “turn the lights off and don’t pay back the loan” deal.
First, KET chickened out on making First District Representative Ed Whitfield debate on air two years ago with a challenger who had little or no chance of beating him. It wasn’t partisan – Democrat Congressman Ben Chandler also was given a pass by the “nationally respected public broadcasting agency”.
Second, reception of KET is so bad in our section of the Purchase that we watch public television from Southern Illinois. Programs on KET become frozen or black out entirely on clear nights.
The “Green Bank of Kentucky” is using stimulus dollars from the federal government not to create jobs where the need for jobs is a matter of the life or death of whole communities. It’s being used in the same old places by the same old faces.
Aren’t you glad there’s KET?