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LG&E and Kentucky Utilities to build 125 MW solar facility in western Kentucky

In order to fulfill solar energy-based contracts with the University of Kentucky, North American Stainless, the University of Louisville, the Chemours Company and Dow, the Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities company have filed for construction of a 125 MW facility in Kentucky.

Based in western Kentucky, the facility would be funded entirely by the five entities benefiting from its energy offerings — no costs would be borne by either other LG&E or KU customers. Each of the five customers would benefit from this arrangement through 20 year renewable power agreements (RPAs), although the solar facility itself is not expected to be completed until 2025. The filing with the Kentucky Public Service Commission includes a separate RPA for each entity.

“Creating customized solutions that support our customers’ increased demand for renewable energy is a key objective for our business,” David Sinclair, LG&E and KU vice president-Energy Supply and Analysis, said. “We’re committed to providing cost-effective, innovative options, that carefully integrate renewable sources into the system and enhance the economic vitality of Kentucky while also maintaining the safe, reliable service our customers depend on.”

Each entity involved in the new solar effort is participating in LG&E and KU’s Green Tariff Option 3. That option is meant to help participants achieve their respective renewable energy goals, and to help them purchase additional renewable power. For example, the contract with the University of Louisville will allow more than 15 percent of its total electricity demand to be met with solar power, which will also allow its greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by another 9 percent from 2020 levels. The contracts, and this western Kentucky solar facility, will rank among the largest solar projects planned for Kentucky.

Under the agreements, the utilities will supply UK with 44 percent of the facility’s energy output. North American Stainless will be served with 36 percent, the University of Louisville and The Chemours Company will each be supplied with 8 percent of the generation, while Dow has committed 25 percent of the energy output from a separate facility as part of a 2020 RPA, and will receive 4 percent of the output from this newest facility.

LG&E and KU themselves have pledged to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions across their operations to net zero by 2050. They have also set interim goals of 70 percent reduction from 2010 levels by 2035 and an 80 percent reduction by 2040.

Chris Galford

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