Month: August 2015

Joe Arnold Named Vice President Of Strategic Communications For KAEC

Joe Arnold, political editor, reporter, anchor, and host of the weekly The Powers That Be program for WHAS11, has been named Vice President of Strategic Communications for Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives.

KAEC President and CEO Chris Perry says, “Our industry is facing many challenges due to the Clean Power Plan and other regulations. Joe is a communications leader with the skills to effectively communicate how issues will affect Kentucky’s electric co-ops and our members. This is a critical role in the success of our organization and during a period of transition in the utility world. We are looking forward to having Joe on board.”

Arnold announced his departure from television news to colleagues in the WHAS11 newsroom Tuesday morning, August 4, 2015. Though Arnold will begin his position at KAEC on September 18, he will continue to contribute to WHAS11 political coverage as host of The Powers That Be and on election night.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to transition to the next stage of my career,” Arnold said. “WHAS11 is a leader in broadcast journalism and my dear and talented colleagues have been a second family to me over the last 17 years. WHAS11 has introduced me to leaders, concerned citizens and issues in Kentucky, and I am excited to be able to apply my experience and skills to an organization that supports a critical asset for our state, reliable electricity at affordable rates.”

In his new role, Arnold will oversee corporate media relations communications for KAEC, which includes Kentucky Living magazine. He will represent KAEC on local and state legislative concerns and lead KAEC communications as it relates to the 26 electric cooperatives and other key constituent groups.

Recognized locally and nationally for his reporting of politics and government, Arnold first joined WHAS11 in 1998 while host of The Joe Arnold Show on WHAS-AM 840. Beginning in 2001, Joe anchored Good Morning Kentuckiana and weekend newscasts before assuming the role of political editor in 2009.

Arnold’s reporting has been recognized with top awards from the Associated Press and Emmy Awards for investigations and blogging.

A 2012 graduate of Leadership Louisville, a civic training group for emerging leaders, Arnold has also been recognized for his contributions to charitable causes, including the Colon Cancer Prevention Project and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Arnold lives in Louisville with his wife and two children.

Historic Clean Power Plan Unveiled – How EPA’s Carbon Emissions Rule Will Impact Kentucky

On Monday, August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama unveiled the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule for the Clean Power Plan, regulating greenhouse gas emissions at U.S. power plants. The plan requires carbon emissions to be cut 32 percent by 2030 outlined in a 1,560-page report.

The Clean Energy Plan sets national standards, while allowing states flexibility in deciding how to meet those goals. States are required to submit state-specific plans by September 2016. If states need more time, they can make an initial submission and request extensions of up to two years for their final plan. Mandatory reductions for carbon emissions begin in 2022, and states can elect to gradually step down reductions to meet the final goals for 2030.

While the nation relies on nearly 40 percent of coal for its energy, Kentucky’s energy is 92 percent coal-powered, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

An important strategy for lowering emissions in Kentucky, given the state’s heavy reliance on coal for energy and lack of renewable energy from solar and wind, will be energy-efficiency programs put into place by electric utilities, which are already being widely used.

For Kentucky, shuttering power plants, leaving stranded assets before the debt is paid off, is a huge concern. East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s CEO Tony Campbell says, “The regulations announced effectively remove coal as an option for future power plants, and begin restricting carbon emissions from existing coal-fired plants. This will put pressure on costs to rise. As we move away from coal, there are serious questions that must be addressed about the affordability and reliability of alternatives, including natural gas and renewables.”

East Kentucky Power provides generation and transmission to 16 distribution electric co-ops in Kentucky, which provide power to more than 1 million Kentuckians.

EKPC’s Campbell says, “I am concerned about the impact these rules will have on the affordability and reliability of electric power.” He says, “I am especially concerned for the people at the end of our power lines. Among the people served by Kentucky’s electric cooperatives, household income is 7.4 percent below the state average and 22 percent below the national average. Among the 87 counties served by EKPC’s owner-member cooperatives, 40 counties face persistent poverty.”

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson states, “Any increase in the cost of electricity most dramatically impacts those who can least afford it, and the fallout from the EPA’s rule will cascade across the nation for years to come.”

NRECA is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives that provide electricity to 42 million consumer-members in 47 states, including Kentucky.

Emerson states, “While we appreciate the efforts intended to help offset the financial burden of rising electricity prices and jobs lost due to prematurely shuttered power plants, the final rule still appears to reflect the fundamental flaws of the original proposal. It exceeds the EPA’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act, and it will raise electricity rates for our country’s most vulnerable populations while challenging the reliability of the grid.”

NRECA recently commissioned a study that underscores the devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses. The study, Affordable Electricity: Rural American’s Economic Lifeline, measures the impact of a 10 and 25 percent electricity price increase on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) from 2020 to 2040. The study shows even a 10 percent increase in electricity prices would result in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021 across the country with nearly 500,000 of those lost jobs in rural communities.

“For many years, because of the Commonwealth’s abundant coal resources, Kentucky has enjoyed some of the lowest electric rates in the nation,” says Campbell. “I am proud of EKPC’s role in providing some of the most affordable, reliable electric available. As a result, Kentucky has a dynamic manufacturing economy that employs 235,000 Kentuckians and depends on that affordable energy.”

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are committed to keeping costs affordable and to maintain reliability for electric co-op members.

Emerson says, “We will continue reviewing this extremely complex rule and have additional comments on behalf of America’s not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in the coming days.”