Kentucky utilities get approval for plan to replace coal plant with 1GW solar, storage by 2027

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The Kentucky utilities will seek to own 240MW of the solar capacity and sign four PPAs with a combined capacity of 650MW. Image: Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash.

Two utilities in Kentucky, US, have received approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission (KPSC) to add 1GW of solar PV and energy storage to replace a 600MW coal plant by 2027.

US utilities Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU), both subsidiaries of energy company PPL Corporation, have received the green light to add 240MW of company-owned solar PV, while 650MW of PV will be acquired through power purchase agreements (PPAs). Regarding battery storage, the utilities will construct 125MW of storage output.

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The solar capacity owned by the utilities will comprise two solar arrays, a 120MW to be built in Mercer County and the acquisition of another in Marion County. Moreover, they will sign four PPAs for the acquisition of the remaining 650MW solar PV capacity.

John Crockett, president of LG&E and KU, said: “We are pleased that the commission approved many aspects of our plan that will allow us to continue serving our customers safely and reliably, though we remain concerned that the deferral of the second NGCC could increase costs to customers.”

Combined, the two utilities serve more than 1.3 million customers; Louisville Gas and Electric Company covers Louisville and 16 surrounding counties, while Kentucky Utilities Company covers 77 counties in Kentucky and five counties in Virginia.

As utilities across the US continue to retire their coal-fired power plants, solar and battery storage have constantly been the most sought-after technologies to replace it with, as was the case with several Arizona utilities. Last week, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), UniSource Energy Services (UNSE) and Arizona Public Services (APS) released their Integrated Resource Plan with a look at the next 15 years and seeking solar-plus-storage capacity in the upcoming years, as covered on PV Tech Premium.

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