IDENTIFICATION OF FIRMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPONENTS IN THE KENTUCKY BLUGRASS REGION: A COMPARISON OF REPP STANDARDS CLASSIFICATION USAGE VERSUS SELF-IDENTIFICATION USING ONLINE SURVEYS
While the energy field has been primarily dominated by fossil fuels such as coal and oil, there is evidence that renewable energy sources are starting to gain a stronger foothold in the energy market to accommodate growth (Debbage, 2008; Intelligent, 2008; Sterzinger, 2006). This has been the result of greater social concern, as well as tax and other government incentives (Intelligent, 2008; Debbage, 2008). Due to these trends, a growing market opportunity exists for cities and states to increase their renewable energy component production (Intelligent, 2008; Regional, 2013; Debbage, 2008; IPCC, 2014). The primary purpose of this study was to survey existing manufacturers in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky to obtain information and identify manufacturers who: were currently in the renewable energy market, interested in entering the renewable energy market, or have no interest in entering the renewable energy market. Respondents also addressed potential barriers to the growth of the renewable energy field including workforce development, government policy, and investment capital. A total of 25 companies responded to the survey. Correlation analysis was used and determined that no significant correlation existed between surveyed companies who identified themselves as suppliers of renewable energy components and those companies who were identified as possible suppliers of renewable energy components within the REPP (Renewable Energy Policy Project) standards. This study builds on previous methodology used by Debbage (2008) for North Carolina.