KY Utility to close Coal-Fired Unit

Friday, September 25, 2015 @ 02:09 PM gHale

The coal-burning Unit 1 of the Elmer Smith Power Plant in Owensboro, KY, will shut down sometime between 2019 and 2021, officials said.

The plant’s other, larger coal burning unit will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, Owensboro Municipal Utilities officials said.

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The utility doesn’t have a plan yet for replacing the power, but Chief Executive Terrance Naulty said it will likely be natural gas or renewable energy.

The reality is over half of the coal plants operating in Kentucky in 2011 ended up built before 1970, and that leaves utilities making a decision on whether to update the plants or shut them down.

With the increase in fracking which is tapping into a rich supply of natural gas, utilities are finding the hike in emissions controls over coal plants is leading them more toward gas-powered plants. More utilities across the country are closing down their coal plants.