Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and LG&E and KU were ranked among the U.S. Top 20 Utilities in Economic Development by Site Selection, the international economic development magazine.
The co-ops were ranked 14th and LG&E and KU were ranked 15th. See the complete rankings here: siteselection.com.
In a profile in the magazine’s September edition, the co-ops are lauded for using innovative technology to market sites in the co-ops’ Kentucky communities. The rankings are based on corporate facility investment and job creation, and honor organizations that are taking economic development to the next level.
“The economic development community around the globe is taking notice of the emphasis Kentucky is putting on drawing jobs and investment,” said Rodney Hitch, economic development director for the co-ops. “Hard work is being done at every level, from local economic development agencies to the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet and our many federal partners. Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are proud to do our part to help improve the quality of life and success across our many regions and communities.”
“Our technology-driven approach to economic development provides great opportunities for our service territory and resulted in landing 48 percent of all project investment in Kentucky in 2018 and 57 percent of projects with investments above $20 million,” said Brad Thomas, economic development manager. “Our 2018 investment numbers set an all-time record for our co-ops and, since we restarted economic development efforts beginning in January 2015, have pushed our impact numbers to over $5 billion invested and over 10,000 jobs created. This recognition represents being named to the upper 1 percent of all utility economic development teams across the U.S.”
In 2018, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives received the Organization Excellence Award from the National Rural Economic Development Association. And, in July, Hitch and Thomas were named among the top 50 economic developers in North America by Consultant Connect.
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives include 17 not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives that serve more than 1 million Kentucky residents across 87 Kentucky counties. They include:
- Big Sandy RECC, Paintsville, Ky.
- Blue Grass Energy, Nicholasville, Ky.
- Clark Energy Cooperative, Winchester, Ky.
- Cumberland Valley Electric, Gray, Ky.
- Farmers RECC, Glasgow, Ky.
- Fleming-Mason Energy, Flemingsburg, Ky.
- Grayson RECC, Grayson, Ky.
- Inter-County Energy Cooperative, Danville, Ky.
- Jackson Energy Cooperative, McKee, Ky.
- Licking Valley RECC, West Liberty, Ky.
- Nolin RECC, Elizabethtown, Ky.
- Owen Electric Cooperative, Owenton, Ky.
- Salt River Electric, Bardstown, Ky.
- Shelby Energy Cooperative, Shelbyville, Ky.
- South Kentucky RECC, Somerset Ky.
- Taylor County RECC, Campbellsville, Ky.
- East Kentucky Power Cooperative
Site Selection recognized LG&E and KU for several crucial efforts to promote economic development, including investing $2.2 billion in infrastructure improvements to benefit existing and future customers, and helping create more than 7,500 jobs.
“We strive to bring growth and expansion to the territories we serve, and it’s a tremendous honor to be recognized for our dedication to helping empower economic prosperity,” said Beth McFarland, LG&E and KU vice president–Customer Services. “Driving economic development not only helps the success of new and expanding businesses, but ultimately enhances the quality of life for the communities where we live, work and raise our families.”
LG&E and KU made upgrades to two hydroelectric plants, provided nearly $1.5 million in economic development demand credits through the companies’ Economic Development Rider program, and gave business and industrial customers the opportunity to invest in local solar energy and receive monthly credits through its Business Solar and Solar Share programs.
“Cultivating our relationships with existing customers and providing them with low-cost, reliable power and the infrastructure necessary to encourage growth is of paramount importance,” said John Bevington, LG&E and KU director of Business and Economic Development. “That, coupled with innovative incentives, forward thinking communities, and a dedicated team equal a winning formula. It’s why we see everyone in our company as part of the economic development team.”
Site Selection has previously honored LG&E and KU with numerous honors as a Top 10 utility for economic development, including five times since 2010. This year, however, the magazine altered the award to recognize an elite group of 20 utilities.