HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — The state's largest electric utility is planning to build a new western Kentucky generating plant powered by natural gas.
The $700 million plant proposed by Louisville Gas and Electric will be built in Muhlenberg County. The company also says a new 10-megawatt solar facility will be built at one of the company's existing power plants.
The announcement of the natural gas plant was unwelcome news for officials at a western Kentucky utility that was hoping LG&E would be a buyer of its surplus power.
Big Rivers Electric Corp. will soon be losing two of its biggest power consumers — aluminum smelters in Hawesville and Sebree. The departure will leave the utility with about 850 megawatts of power for which to find a buyer.
"It's obviously disappointing, but it's not the end of the game by any means," Big Rivers President and CEO Mark Bailey told The Gleaner in Henderson (http://bit.ly/1aScZbe ) on Thursday.
"We have offers to at least 14 entities with nearly 3,000 megawatts" of electricity on the table, Bailey said.
LG&E will submit a filing with the Kentucky Public Service Commission for permission to construct the 700-megawatt natural gas combined-cycle generating station in Muhlenberg County.
The plant is expected to create about 40 permanent full-time jobs and several hundred construction jobs. Kentucky Utilities, a subsidiary of LG&E, will be closing its 63-year-old coal-fired Green River Station in Muhlenberg County in 2016.
If approved, the gas plant could be operating in 2018.
LG&E is already building a 640-megawatt gas-powered plant at the Cane Run generating station near Louisville.
Because of increased federal environmental regulations, LG&E and Kentucky Utilities are retiring 800 megawatts of older coal-fired generation at Cane Run and two other sites.
Information from: The Gleaner, http://www.thegleaner.com/