There is still time to let the PSC know that Kentucky is ready to close aging fossil fuel plants and embrace a cleaner, more efficient energy future!
On August 22, 2023, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is opening a public hearing on Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E/KU) 's request to retire four coal-fired electric generating units and three natural gas simple cycle combustion turbine units, and to replace them with two new natural gas combined cycle facilities, two solar facilities, one battery storage facility, and four solar power-purchase agreements ("PPAs"); and for approval of their proposed 2024-2030 Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency Program Plan. The two natural gas facilities would be at LG&E's Mill Creek Generating Station in Jefferson County and KU's E.W. Brown Generating Station in Mercer County.
LG&E and KU need the PSC's approval to build these new gas plants and must show a need for the new generating capacity and an "absence of wasteful duplication." They are requesting Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for these new generation and storage facilities, approval of a demand-side management plan and tariff rates, and a declaratory order regarding four solar PPAs.
This request is also the first test of Kentucky's 2023 Senate Bill 4 ("SB4"), a law advocated by coal interests to attempt to extend the life of coal-fired power plants. SB4 requires utilities to seek approval from the PSC to close fossil-fueled electric generation. Specifically, it disallows any use or reliance by the utility on any financial incentives or benefits offered by any federal agency, including incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, in the decision to retire a fossil fuel-fired plant. KRC and our allies opposed SB4 during the 2023 legislative session, joined by several utility companies who said the bill would damage grid reliability and raise costs by forcing utilities to operate coal plants past their useful lives.
Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Solar Energy Society, and Mountain Association are working together as joint intervenors in this PSC case, represented by KRC and Earthjustice The Joint Intervenors do not believe that LG&E and KU have made the case for building two new greenhouse gas-emitting power plants, rather than aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, renewables, and other strategies to meet and lower energy demand. The parties are also advancing a business case for closing these coal-fired plants and ensuring that the process is not "gamed" to favor continued uneconomic use and dispatch of coal-fired generation.
WATCH THE HEARING
The PSC will open a public hearing on LG&E and KU's proposal on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at 9am Eastern time at 211 Sower Blvd., Frankfort. Time is available before the hearing begins for public comments. Show up early to sign in and line up before the PSC to give your public comment. The hearing will also be streamed live on the PSC's YouTube channel.
SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENTS
There is also still time to submit a public comment online! Submit comments to:
PO Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602-0615.
All comments should include the commenter's name, address, and case number, 2022-00402
The PSC wants to hear how you are impacted by your utility's decisions about our energy future. Your comments will have more of an impact when they are in your own words, but some sample talking points include:
- Let the PSC know that Kentucky needs a clean, efficient, and renewable energy future!
- Ask the PSC to approve the closure of the coal-fired power plants, which are already nearing the end of their useful lives, rather than requiring more money to keep them running.
- The need was not identified during the Integrated Resource Plan process or in their final plan, and the LG&E and KU have not reasonably considered less-risky alternatives.
- Not only will the building of these two new plants forever impact our global climate and local environment, but the regulatory future around new greenhouse gas generation is also uncertain. Rather than approving the certificates for the two new gas plants at over $1 billion, LG&E and KU should invest in real energy efficiency, demand-side management, and other affordable, less risky options.
- Ask the PSC to approve the proposed solar and battery storage projects.
- LG&E and KU should immediately increase Demand Side Management (DSM) programs and re-engage the DSM Advisory Group of stakeholders.
- The LG&E and KU must analyze potential DSM programs using readily available economic and race data by census tract to create the most effective DSM programs offerings with the most low- and fixed-income customer benefit.
- Ask the PSC to increase Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to minimize the need for creating new energy capacity and target benefits for affordable rates for low-and fixed-income households.
Thank you for your interest in Kentucky's environmental and public health. Individual contributions from donors across the Commonwealth make it possible for KRC to do its work every day, including advancing environmental, energy, and public health policies in Kentucky.
If you're interested in making an investment in KRC, visit https://www.kyrc.org/get-involved/donate