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Frankfort testimony on energy needs includes input from Toyota official

Toyota Regional Director of Government Affairs
Stu Johnson
Toyota Regional Director of Government Affairs

A panel of Kentucky lawmakers heard from big electricity users during an interim legislative committee meeting Thursday. The topic before the Joint Natural Resources and Energy Committee was Industrial Customers' Responses to the Changing Energy Environment. Among those testifying was Kim Allen Menke with Toyota in Georgetown. He said severe weather can cause a blip in power and that can mean stopping the production line.

“Having to stop and reset the equipment and basically rework all those vehicles that are in the spray booth or in the oven because they are not going to meet the quality standards that we need for those products,” said Menke.

When it comes to energy reliability, Menke, who served as an environmental engineer in the early days of Toyota in Kentucky, said an all-of-the above approach is needed. He says the Japanese automaker is initiating a solar array project on-site in Scott County as well as looking at a Martin County project for power assistance.

“There’s a project there at the mine for a solar project that is being used. That will go online toward the end of this year to be able to provide some solar or alternative energy sources to the grid,” said Menke.

Menke said the project underway at the Scott County assembly plant will produce 13 mega watts of solar power.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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