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Utility Proposes Building Two New $1.4B Natural-Gas Plants in Kentucky

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Monday, August 14, 2023   

Kentucky's major utilities, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, are asking the state's Public Service Commission to approve a plan to build natural-gas power plants in Louisville and Mercer County - and residents can voice their input on the plan at a virtual public hearing tomorrow afternoon.

Critics and environmental groups say they're concerned about the long-term impact on ratepayers - the total cost of the projects are estimated at more than $1 billion - and the environmental footprint.

Carrie Ray - director of energy programs with the Mountain Association - said the plants will be cranking out greenhouse emissions for decades, amid an uncertain future for the price of natural gas.

"However, we do know that natural-gas prices are extremely volatile," said Ray. "And we know that investing in plants like this is is locking LG&E and KU customers into the costs of this power plant again, for 40 years."

The utilities contend their proposal also includes investments in in solar and battery-storage facilities to meet projected energy needs. For more information on joining the virtual meeting at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, visit psc.ky.gov.

Ray said the utilities' plan to build a plant in the predominantly Black area of West Louisville will increase health risks for the city's most vulnerable residents, noting that communities of color and low-income communities in the state disproportionately bear the burden of polluting industries...

"And suffer from increased heart disease, increased levels of asthma and respiratory illnesses and cancer," said Ray. "So from an environmental-justice standpoint, in particular, this West Louisville plant is very concerning."

She said she believes the utilities could focus on improving residential and commercial energy efficiency, along with investing more in renewables.

"We believe there are alternatives to building these plants that both the Public Service Commission and LG&E KU need to be at digging into more thoroughly," said Ray, "before saying that the only choice is to lock ourselves into 40 more years of natural gas."

An in-person meeting on the proposal will be held in Louisville this Wednesday at the Louisville Free Public Library. Comments can also be submitted via email to 'PSC.comment@ky.gov.'



Disclosure: Mountain Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Consumer Issues, Environment, Rural/Farming. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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