It's Rural vs. Urban in Kentucky's Anti-Solar Energy Bill
"Kentucky's urban-rural divide surfaced during a legislative committee's final discussion about a controversial solar energy bill Thursday before it was narrowly passed with three new members added to the panel," reports James Bruggers.
House Bill 227—backed by utilities and politicians that support the coal industry—would "slash credits that utilities must provide to future solar panel owners for any extra electricity they produce."
As referenced by Bruggers in the lede, the political debate over the bill in committee pitted representatives from rural areas against representatives from the state's two largest cities.
Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, said that "98 to 99 percent of letters" commenting on the bill came from Louisville and Lexington. "I'll be voting for my constituents," he said, adding that they don't want to "subsidize" people in the state's two largest cities.
The state's fledgling solar industry opposes the bill, saying it could double the time it takes for residents to cover the costs of their solar energy systems and costs "hundreds of jobs" at installation companies. Other opponents say larger utility companies could use the bill to take control of more of the solar market.