Education, business, government leaders convene for first Energizing Kentucky conference
June 4th, 2008
Change will happen in the energy industry. But it will take some time, and it will require a long-term commitment from business, government and the American people.
That was the message delivered by Sandra Meyer, president of Duke Energy Kentucky and Duke Energy Ohio, during the opening session of the Energizing Kentucky conference June 3 at the Henry Clay Building in Louisville.
Energizing Kentucky is a series of conferences sponsored by the University of Louisville, Berea College, University of Kentucky and Centre College to bring business, government and education leaders together to discuss energy, an issue important to Kentucky’s future.
More than 200 people attended the opening session, which featured Meyer’s presentation and brief comments from UofL President James Ramsey, UK President Lee Todd, Berea President Larry Shinn and Centre President John Roush.
The conference continued June 4 with presentations by state Rep. Rocky Adkins and Sen. Robert Stivers, leaders in establishing energy policy in Kentucky. Other speakers included Leonard Peters, secretary of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet, and Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council.
Adkins, majority floor leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives and the author of key energy legislation passed in each of the last three sessions, cited the unique partnership among the two public research universities and two private liberal arts colleges and applauded the four presidents for their leadership in coming together to address such an important issue.
He also noted that the legislature is united and ready to work with the schools and others to develop a plan for Kentucky’s future.
“The energy issue is not a partisan issue,” he said. “It’s a people issue.”
Meyer told the audience that Kentucky needs a “cathedral mentality” in dealing with energy issues. Because many historic cathedrals took decades to build, those who worked on the foundations often never saw the finished products.
The energy decisions we make today should be “thoughtful, credible and long-term” in scope, perhaps offering more benefit to our children and grandchildren than to us, Meyer said.
She also noted that simple solutions, such as wind and solar power, must be augmented by clean coal and other efforts to be effective for Kentucky.
“The sun doesn’t shine all the time. The wind doesn’t blow every day,” she said.
Meyer advocated clean coal and nuclear energy as keys to Kentucky’s energy future. And she applauded Kentucky’s legislature for recent energy policies that encourage exploration of alternative fuels.
The next Energizing Kentucky conference is scheduled for September in Louisville. Author Thomas Friedman is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.