Envision believes that it is vital for our community to focus on sustainable energy use and climate resilience. Envision fully supports the City of Frankfort’s 100% Renewable Energy commitment, which aims to supply 100% of City government operations with renewable energy by 2023 and all energy used in the community by 2030. The transition to clean energy offers many opportunities for improving the quality of life in Franklin County, by improving the energy efficiency of homes, reducing energy costs for residents and businesses, and spurring new economic development to drive the transition, to name but a few of the benefits.

Read Frankfort’s 100% Renewable Energy Resolution here.

A report published in 2021 by Apogee – Climate & Energy Transitions details one strategy for efficiently and economically meeting the city’s electricity needs with solar energy. Local Solar, Local Savings: How to Cut Electricity Costs in Half for Public Schools and Local Governments in Frankfort, Kentucky describes how local governments and public schools in Frankfort could reduce their electricity costs by fifty percent and dramatically reduce carbon emissions by developing a collaborative solar project within Franklin County. With the cooperation of their local municipal utility, the Frankfort Plant Board (FPB), a 20 megawatt (MW) solar facility on about 150 acres could supply 100% of the annual electricity needs of these four public agencies, providing combined savings to local taxpayers exceeding $1.2 million per year.

Envision supports Apogee’s proposal for the many benefits it would provide to our local community.

Envision’s Vision for Frankfort’s Energy Future:

In 2016, Envision Franklin County published Frankfort's Energy Future a report that explores the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy to the Frankfort Plant Board (FPB), their customers, and the local community. These benefits include protecting customers from rising electricity rates and helping them to reduce their bills; reducing the risks from being heavily dependent on coal power; lowering the FPB’s demand charges and extending the life of utility infrastructure; and generating local investment and economic development.

The report cites examples of utilities that have achieved great success with energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Burlington Electric Department in Vermont has been operating energy efficiency programs since 1990. Their programs save their customers about $11 million per year on their electric bills. Burlington also sources nearly 100% of their electricity from renewable energy, consisting mainly of biomass, hydro, and wind.

MidAmerican Energy in Iowa sourced 41% of their electric capacity from wind in 2015 and is aiming to meet 100% of their power from renewables. They state that their electric rates are the 7th lowest in the country.

MidWest Energy in Kansas created the How$mart on-bill financing program, an innovative program that helps customers implement home energy improvements. Their program has completed nearly 1,500 projects and saves the average participant $53 per month on their utility bills. The How$mart Program is available to the FPB through the Mountain Association in Berea, which brought the program to Kentucky in 2011 and now operates it in partnership with six electric cooperatives in Eastern Kentucky.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest source of energy available,” stated Daniel Holder, an economist and one of the report’s authors. “Effective conservation programs save the utility and their customer’s money. Meanwhile the cost of renewables like wind and solar has fallen dramatically in recent years, to the point that both are now competitive with natural gas in many places.”

“EnvisionFranklinCounty invites our community and local leaders to read this report and join the conversation about Frankfort’s energy future,” said Chris Schimmoeller, member of EnvisionFranklinCounty. “The energy choices we make today will affect our community for decades to come. The clean energy path offers us opportunities to create a healthier, more prosperous community.”