Special Energy Project Funding lights up district budgets
Kentucky School Advocate
By Madelynn Coldiron
The outcome? With district matching money, the dollars spent on projects generated from the program doubled the total million-dollar settlement funding, giving districts a bang for their buck.
“From an energy-saving standpoint, we had 5 million kilowatt hours of energy (saved), roughly a half-million dollars a year savings back to the districts,” Nipple said.
“The payback on it is just tremendous,” said SEMP Director Ron Willhite. “It’s allowed the schools to accelerate eliminating wasteful energy use and at the same time provided a better environment.”
Nipple also pointed to the benefit for utility companies: These projects together will reduce demand, which can help stave off the need to build additional costly power plants.
The only slight hiccup in the program came with paperwork, he said, as districts have to get used to providing a high level of detail in their project description and invoices to receive reimbursement. “We have to have a trail,” he explained. “We need to be able to show (the utilities) what we did.”
The utilities “have been really good to work with,” he added.
Participating districts have until June 30, 2018 to complete their projects. “Most of them will do them over the summer, but a lot of them took advantage of the Christmas break to do it,” while students were out of the buildings, Nipple said.
Willhite said similar results could potentially be produced in the latest rate case in which KSBA has intervened (see sidebar page 17). Hickman County’s Henderson is on board with that: “We’ve got another gym in the elementary we’d love to have the opportunity to be able to do the same thing with.”