by Chris de Morsella, Green Economy Post Chris is the co-editor of The Green Executive Recruiter Directory. Follow Chris on Twitter @greeneconpost

Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the state are: wind, biofuel, energy efficiency.

The Pew Center of The States Clean Economy Report found that in 2007 Kentucky had 778 cleantech businesses and that the state had 9,308 green jobs. Its green sector grew 10% for the decade of 1998-2007 compared with 3.6% for the overall economy.

Kentucky is home to two operating bioethanol plants and two operating biodiesel plants which use agricultural residue and industrial waste as feedstocks. Biomass power production in the state comes entirely from four landfill energy projects. Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have constructed five landfill gas to electric generation plants. The plants are the Bavarian Landfill near Walton, KY, Green Valley Landfill near Grayson, KY, the Laurel Ridge Landfill near London, Ky., the Pendleton County Landfill near Butler, KY and the Pearl Hollow Landfill near Elizabethtown, KY.

In 2009 there were 14 renewable energy companies in Kentucky and there were 292 direct and indirect renewable energy jobs in the state. In 2010 it has been estimated that there were between 100 and 500 direct and indirect wind jobs; at least 5 Kentucky facilities currently manufacture components for the wind industry.

Kentucky has significant untapped potential to generate electricity from water flowing over existing dams. The National Laboratories in Idaho (a federal agency) looked at potential hydro-electric sites in KY in 2003 and concluded that it could generate an additional 887 MW of power at existing dams. Current cost estimates show these sites could be developed for less than the cost of an equivalent power plant. Tapping into all of these resources would more than double Kentucky’s current hydro-electric generation.

In addition the state has a goal of offsetting at least 18% of Kentucky’s projected 2025 energy demand through energy efficiency. Among the goals is to replace inefficient resistance heating units with high-efficiency heat pumps. In addition the University of Kentucky has hired energy services company Ameresco to undertake a major energy efficiency retrofit over the next year across 61 campus buildings and 5.2 million square feet.

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