“The seesawing of regulations when we’re trying to make a 50-year investment, it will drive you crazy,” he says. “And that wouldn’t be good for our customer base.”
The utility is marketing its new solar farm, and if demand is strong enough Crews says it will add more panels.
At Toyota’s plant in central Kentucky, Kevin Butt envisions installing solar panels on the roof. The company is also researching fuel cell technology, seeking the breakthrough that could help it eliminate carbon emissions. But for now, he’s getting creative about finding renewable energy where he can.
He drives me down a rutted dirt road, through towering brown hills. It’s a landfill, and here and there, things stick up.
“The black tube coming out,” he says pointing, “it’s a methane capture well.”
The methane is released as the trash rots. When it goes into the air, methane is a dirty greenhouse gas, but last year Toyota set up a generator here to turn it into clean electricity. The power is sent through an underground line, straight to the Toyota plant 6 miles away, bypassing the local utility altogether.
“They either have to put it in their system,” Butt says, “or people will be looking at alternate ways to get that energy in a renewable form.”