electricity

Environment
9:00 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Data Shows Gas is Catching Up to Coal, Even in the Southeast

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

A new analysis by the federal government shows that coal-fired electricity is losing ground in a former stronghold: the Southeast.

Coal's share of the nation's electricity generation has been slipping over the past few years; in July, preliminary data suggested for the first time, natural gas and coal both provided the same amount (32 percent) of the U.S.'s electricity. But coal usage has typically been higher in the Southeast.

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Environment
9:00 am
Thu October 11, 2012

What Will it Take to Make Western Kentucky Aluminum Smelters Profitable?

The smokestack of an aluminum smelting plant, 1973.
Doug Wilson Environmental Protection Agency

Over the past several months, there have been worries that two big aluminum smelters in western Kentucky will shut down. Rio Tinto-Alcan has a plant in Sebree (Webster County) and Century Aluminum has a plant in Hawesville (Hancock County).

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Environment
5:24 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Public Service Commission to Study Smart Grid Technology

A smart meter installed in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan.
Dwight Burdette Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Public Service Commission will begin a study of smart grid technology, and whether the devices will help electric consumers.

The term “smart grid” is used to refer to technology like smart meters, and other equipment that helps utilities monitor electricity and detect outages. PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says the tools can be useful for consumers, too.

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Environment
3:31 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

PSC Agrees to $58 Million Settlement in Big Rivers Rate Case

Smokestacks rising above a coal-fired power plant in Louisville.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has accepted a settlement in a rate case involving Big Rivers Electric Corp., which provides power to several electric co-ops in western Kentucky.

When Big Rivers proposed environmental upgrades earlier this year, the improvements were estimated to cost ratepayers more than $283 million. The company planned to install more stringent pollution controls at four of its power plants, and convert the coal-fired Reid Plant in Sebree to natural gas.

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Environment
2:45 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Group Trying to Remove Chair of Electric Co-Op

A group of southern Kentucky businessmen are pushing to remove the chairman of the state's largest rural electric cooperative and making allegations that he has acted improperly.

Somerset businessman John Tuttle is spearheading the drive to oust Rick Stephens of McCreary County as chairman of the South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative. Tuttle says that some people are accusing Stephens of illegal activity, but he believes Stephens has made decisions that "don't pass the smell test."

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Environment
5:45 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Report Says Nation's Newest Coal Plant Isn't as Cheap as Promised

Prairie State Energy Campus
Prairie State

A large coal-burning power plant in Illinois that provides electricity to some areas of Western Kentucky and Indiana is under fire. A non-profit analyzed the costs of the plant and the numbers suggest ratepayers in eight states are paying more than they should.

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Environment
9:00 am
Fri November 4, 2011

After Years of Keeping Rates Low, Coal Now Detrimental to Utility Costs

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Coal-fired electricity is one of the reasons Kentucky’s utility rates are among the lowest in the nation. And as new pollution regulations take effect, coal is the reason Kentucky will be among the hardest hit states. Rate increases currently before the Public Service Commission are one sign of the changing tide.

In September, dozens of people showed up at a public meeting in Louisville to weigh in on proposed electricity rate increases. Most of them, like Rev. Milton Seymore, were against the higher rates.

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