KU Has Big Plans For E.W. Brown
Utility Announces Plan To Retire Third Of Generating Fleet By 2028
Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities (KU) has announced they will retire nearly one-third of the utility provider’s fleet generation by 2028. In a press release, KU said they plan to build two natural gas plants, add a significant amount of solar generation and a battery storage facility, with many of those changes planned for the E.W. Brown Generating Station in Burgin.
KU is asking approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission on a plan that includes building two 621-megawatt natural gas combined-cycle units; adding nearly 1,000 megawatts of solar generation and 125 megawatts of battery storage; and developing 14 new energy efficiency offerings. One of the new natural gas units would be built at the E.W. Brown while another would be built at the Mill Creek Generating Station in Jefferson County. E.W. Brown would also be the location for the proposed battery storage facility. KU’s proposal also includes building a 120-megawatt solar array in Mercer County and acquiring another in Marion County and securing four power purchase agreements for additional solar generation in excess of 600 megawatts.
KU is calling the plan the largest energy efficiency proposal in their history. The utility provider says the propsal reducing their overall need for future generation by nearly 200 megawatts. They also say the proposal includes expanded programs and benefits for low-income customers that include weatherization, energy audits and smart thermostats. KU is proposing an appliance recycling program for residential customers and small businesses as well as incentives for customers who reduce their consumption during times of high energy demand.
E.W. Brown currently has a net generating capacity of 457 megawatts, according to the company’s website. Only one of the three coal-fired units, which was started in 1971, is still operating. The other two were both retired in 2019. In addition to the coal-fired unit and the hydro plant, the utility provider operates turbine units fueled by either natural gas or fuel oil and a 10-megawatt universal solar facility—the first in Kentucky—that began commercial operations in 2016.
“For decades, coal-fired generation has served our customers well, but many of our generating units are reaching the end of their economic life and it is no longer cost-effective to make the needed investments to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations,” said John Crockett, president of LG&E and KU. “The least-cost solution to reliably and affordably meet our customers’ energy demands now, and into the future, is to further diversify our generation fleet and offer our customers more programs to help them save energy and money.”
In keeping with the companies’ long-term goal of net zero by 2050, the proposed portfolio allows the utilities to decrease their carbon emissions by nearly 25 percent from existing levels. The utilities are asking the commission for approval of their application by Oct. 1, 2023.
For more information, visit lge-ku.com and pplweb.com.