For the third consecutive year, manufactures from across the Commonwealth came together with legislators, community leaders and economic development professionals to discuss energy in Kentucky. The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers hosted their Energy Conference May 14 -15 in Lexington. A special thank you goes to LG&E-KU as the Presenting sponsor, Harshaw Trane as the Platinum sponsor and to all of our other sponsors for their support. The generous support of sponsors provided the platform for the conference and the opportunity to share information and challenge each other for continuous improvement.
KAM’s energy conferences are built by manufacturers, using a diverse working group, for manufacturers. The content vetting process required all information be current, accurate and relevant. Each year the working group takes the energy issues and discussions deeper. The first conference in 2011 was educational and informational by design. In 2012, the energy conference encouraged action and recommendations to both near-term and longer-term initiatives. The 2013 conference, based on feedback, was expanded to two full days. The challenge from manufacturers was to grow the discussions and to include energy impacts, as well as environmental and economic impacts, thus the 2013 theme: Energy – Environment – Economics.
Day one focused on deeper-dive dialogues and was designed as three tracks with three breakouts each. All nine sessions explored their topics from the perspective of energy, environment and economic impacts. Sessions included content from compressed air generation and distribution, to energy storage, steam and hot water systems, transportation impacts, energy certification for manufacturers, and the E3 Project (Kentucky Economy, Energy and Environment) which included an overview of resources available to manufacturers at the federal, state and local levels.
Day two was designed with general sessions, content breakouts, and included a trade show. Again the focus was on the energy, environment and economic impacts to manufacturers. The opening session, led by Paul Thompson, COO of LG&E and KU set the stage. Mr Thompson provided an overview of the energy and environmental requirements impacting the economics of generation. In addition, he shared with the audience the efforts LG&E and KU have made to increase generation capacity, meet regulatory mandates and minimize both environmental and economic impacts relative to neighboring states. Also included in the opening session were Ms. Robin Haugen, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, General Manager of Plant and Environmental Engineering, Production Engineering Division sharing Toyota’s journey and commitment to energy reduction, environmental awareness and the economic bottom line for Toyota. Mr. Joe Wyzik, Columbia Pipeline Group, NiSource, shared the shale gas story, along with the current and future energy resource mix, indicating while other fuels will contribute more to the energy resource pie, coal will continue to be the dominant fuel resource. Closing the session, Mr. Daniel Trombley, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reviewed the need and impact of efficiency initiatives in the manufacturing sector.
The breakout session on combined heat and power generation included Tracy Knapp, Wayne Power Supply and Harshaw Trane representatives Ty Vierling and Jason Volz provided details on both why combined heat power is important to manufactures in Kentucky and the technology and economic factors.
Mr. Jonathan Miller, Frost Brown Todd, and Mr. Blaine Early, Stites & Harbison, outlined the legal implications to be considered when implementing energy or environmental initiatives.
Francisco de la Chesnaye, with the Electric Power Research Institute discussed how the state’s utilities will meet the growing demand for energy, while decreasing carbon emission, along with the retirement of several large coal-fired generation stations, and increasing Federal pressures to use alternative fuels. Per Mr. de la Chesnaye, the short-term solution at this time will be combined cycle natural gas generators.
Sara Smith, with Smith Management Group and Peter Goodman, with the Kentucky Division of Water provided a candid and entertaining session on the cost and impact of new storm water efficiency regulations.
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Dr. Len Peters led the closing general panel session. Panelists included Senator Jared Carpenter, Representative Keith Hall and Kentucky Public Service Commissioner Linda Breathitt. Secretary Peters gave an overview of the recently released Stimulating Energy Efficiency in Kentucky report. This panel openly discussed how Kentucky plans to meet the energy needs and regulatory requirements of our future. Following introductory comments, the panelists discussed their views and reiterated their support of manufacturers. The panelists also encouraged manufacturers to fully engage in the conversations in Frankfort and call on their legislators on a regular basis and to educate them on both needs and other “best practice” solutions they may be aware of from their sister facilities.
In addition to the conference, more than 200 legislators, manufacturers and community leaders attended the pre-conference reception sponsored by Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. The reception encouraged informal dialogue on energy, the environment and the economics of both as well as individual exchange of ideas that work and lessons learned from others.
As Kentucky’s number one advocate for manufacturing, KAM is committed to providing timely, accurate, and relevant information to members, policy makers, and community leaders. To learn more about KAM or become a member, contact
A resident of Lexington, Kentucky, Molly Sutherland holds an MBA from Bellarmine University, Louisville and is an Adjunct Professor with Bellarmine University in the MBA program, teaching Entrepreneurial Strategy. For more information, contact Molly at 859-509-2249 or via email at