energy

Since the coronavirus hit the U.S., coal mines across the country have begun shutting down, laying off workers and slowing production.

paringaresources.com

Some of the employees at the Poplar Grove coal mine in McLean County, Kentucky, received a letter on Feb. 17 informing them that their employment will end Feb. 18.

The letter is from Hartshorne Mining Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa Resources in Australia.

The letter said the project will transition from two mining units to one and some employees will be retained as the effort continues to seek additional financing or possibly the sale of the mine.

Paringa has encountered financial and geological problems at the Poplar Grove mine.

LG&E Proposes Largest Solar Field In Kentucky

Jan 27, 2020
Duke Energy

Louisville Gas and Electric is seeking approval from state utility regulators to build the largest solar array in Kentucky.

If approved, the 100-megawatt plant in Hardin County would be one of at least four utility-scale projects coming online in Kentucky in the next three years. The project would be 10 times larger than the current title holder, a 10-megawatt LG&E facility near Harrodsburg.

The push for more solar in Kentucky follows a countrywide trend as utilities increasingly turn to renewables for new electricity generation.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

Amid last year’s fight over net-metering legislation, a lobbyist working on behalf of utilities asked the regulatory agency that oversees utilities to weigh-in with a letter to lawmakers.

Gwen Pinson, the executive director of the Kentucky Public Service Commission, wrote back two hours later:

“Jason, The Commissioners and I are going to discuss your request this afternoon. So I will be in touch thereafter,” wrote Pinson.


Brittany Patterson

An attorney for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet told a federal judge Wednesday that the bankrupt coal company Blackjewel has accrued nearly 300 environmental violations since it entered bankruptcy in July.

“It’s essential that these violations are addressed, abated, and that they stop accruing,” Cabinet attorney Lena Seward told bankruptcy judge Frank Volk in the hearing. “There is potential for human and environmental harm.” 

 


Kentucky Leads The Country In 2020 Coal Retirements

Jan 21, 2020
Erica Peterson

Two of the largest coal-fired power plant retirements in the U.S. in 2020 are happening in Kentucky.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Unit 3 near Drakesboro is scheduled to shutter this December while Owensboro’s Elmer Smith Generating Station will cease operations in June.

These older, more inefficient power plants are the latest to be priced out of the market, and are now trudging toward the elephant graveyard of legacy coal-fired plants in the Ohio Valley.

Together, power generation from the two plants represents more than a quarter of the total coal-fired capacity set to retire this year, based on an analysis using U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Alexandra Kanik I Ohio Valley ReSource

The year: 2009. A Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama has just made history upon taking the presidential oath of office. The national economy is at a low point in the Great Recession. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are the first NFL team to win six Super Bowls.

Ten years later, as 2019 gives way to a new decade, the country is a radically different place, and the Ohio Valley is no exception.

The region’s economy improved, but more slowly and more modestly than for the nation as a whole. Coal, the Ohio Valley’s bedrock industry, declined sharply, bringing turmoil and uncertainty to the communities that had long depended on mining and burning coal for jobs. And an addiction crisis just coming into view in 2009 took a terrible toll on the region as it became a nationwide epidemic.

The Ohio Valley ReSource took a look at the trends that have shaped the region over the past ten years, and the data behind those trends in the Ohio Valley’s economy, environment and health.


David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

A new partnership between Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Habitat for Humanity aims to lower utility bills for 10 low-income families across the state by gifting them shares in a community solar field in Shelby County.

LG&E’s solar share program is for ratepayers who want solar energy, but for whatever reason can’t install it on their own properties. The program lets them pay a fee for a share of a large solar field and get a credit on their utility bills for the solar energy that share generates.

 


The Future Of Kentucky Solar Takes Shape in 2020

Dec 20, 2019
Ryan Van Velzer

In January, Kentucky utility regulators will begin accepting rate cases under the revised Net Metering Act, shaping the future of solar in the Commonwealth.

In a final order issued Wednesday, The Kentucky Public Service Commission said it will hire an outside consultant to help evaluate rates for new net-metering customers based on each utility’s specific costs.

“We’re going to hire a consultant because there are issues of first impression here that the commission is going to need some technical assistance with,” said Andrew Melnykovych, PSC spokesman.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

Louisville’s largest solar project is now generating power for holiday shoppers.

Mall St. Matthews in Louisville unveiled more than 1,400 solar panels on its rooftops Wednesday. The project comes two years to the day after Brookfield Properties announced its first solar project on the Oxmoor Center.

Together, the two projects amount to the state’s largest commercial installation supplying enough solar energy to power 134 homes every year, said Steve Ricketts, Solar Energy Solutions general manager and project installer.


Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet has fired its opening salvo in the fight over a proposed gas pipeline through Bernheim Forest.

Louisville Gas & Electric filed an eminent domain lawsuit against the state in September to overturn a conservation easement and acquire land to build the pipeline.

On Friday, the state filed a motion to dismiss the condemnation suit, arguing LG&E didn’t make an offer to buy the state’s conservation easement prior to filing the lawsuit, as required under state law.

City of Henderson Reviewing Plans For Solar Project

Nov 2, 2019
Duke Energy

After retiring the city-owned coal-fired power plant earlier this year, Henderson, Kentucky, is reviewing more than two dozen proposals to energize the city with solar power.

Henderson’s coal-fired power plant belonged to a vintage of older, smaller plants that went online in the 1970s. Historically it provided some of the cheapest electricity in the state, but market forces and maintenance costs eventually made plant operation unprofitable.

“Keeping the coal plant open as a coal plant was not in the financial interest of our customers,” said Henderson Municipal Power and Light General Manager Chris Heimgartner.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky utility regulators have opened a review into the financial assistance programs that help low-income families pay their gas, water and electric bills.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission is concerned some programs are inconsistently distributing funding meant to help impoverished families.

Utilities offer home energy assistance to help make sure low-income families can keep their heat on in the winter and A/C on in the summer.

Among early findings, the commission discovered varying customer requirements and eligibility as well as inconsistent oversight, administrative costs and financial accountability, according to a news release.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

When the state of Kentucky pays to conserve natural areas, it tries to protect that land forever.

Now for first time in nearly 30 years, the power of those protections could be tested in the fight over the future of Bernheim Forest’s Cedar Grove wildlife corridor, according to state environmental advocates.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

Coal lobbyists have enlisted the help of Kentucky state utility regulators in asking federal officials to weigh in on a Trump administration plan to bail out coal-fired power plants.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has joined five other states in writing letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of a campaign orchestrated by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The letters were first reported by Bloomberg.


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