NPR

Big Business Pushes Coal-Friendly Kentucky To Embrace Renewables

Nearly 90 percent of Kentucky's electricity is from coal — the cheap energy source that helped build its manufacturing economy. Now it's struggling to respond as more businesses want clean energy.
Kevin Butt, Toyota's regional environmental sustainability director, at a facility that uses methane to generate clean electricity to help run Toyota's auto plant in central Kentucky. Source: Jennifer Ludden

Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of energy still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

"I mean, what company doesn't want to reduce their energy bill," he says.

That's the business case for going green. And in a lot of places around the country, solar and wind are now the cheapest

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