Kentucky’s Public Service Commissioners are considering a proposal by Louisville Gas and Electric to convert some of the company’s coal-fired facilities into natural gas plants. The PSC held a formal hearing on the issue today.
LG&E already has permission to retire three of its coal-fired power plants, including the Cane Run plant in southwest Louisville. Now, the PSC is considering the plan to build natural gas turbines at Cane Run and purchase existing turbines in Oldham County.
The majority of the questions during the hearing came from an unlikely source: environmental groups. The groups—including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice—have aggressively targeted coal-fired power plants across the country. In this case, they’ve applauded the shut down of the coal units but are arguing that a better replacement would be renewable sources and energy efficiency.
Earthjustice attorney Shannon Fisk asked LG&E Vice President David Sinclair why the company wasn’t taking possible future caps on carbon dioxide into account, like Duke Energy has.
“Should the world evolve as perhaps Duke Carolinas thinks it will, Cane Run 7 will be used and useful in that world as well,” he said. “So why would we pay to pay for technology that’s not cost effective today to meet existing rules today and maybe try to meet some needs that may or may not occur in the future.”
There’s technically no deadline for commissioners to make a decision in the case, but the company is asking for a decision by the end of April.