Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are seeking approval from state regulators to supply five large energy users with solar power.
The renewable energy would not actually come from LG&E, but from a 125-megawatt facility near Paducah owned by BrightNight, one of a growing number of merchant power companies building solar farms in Kentucky.
LG&E would then deliver the majority of that energy to the University of Kentucky and North American Stainless. The University of Louisville, Chemours and Dow also have agreements with the utility.
University of Kentucky vice president of finance and administration Eric Monday said its commitment to sustainability is in line with what’s best for the future of the state.
“This project is another example of the power of partnership to achieve goals that will not only benefit our institution but the Commonwealth we seek to advance,” Monday said in a statement.
For most customers with LG&E and KU, the power that keeps the lights on and the water hot comes from carbon-emitting coal and natural gas. However, LG&E does offer residential and business customers the opportunity to participate in a solar share program for an additional fee.
“Creating customized solutions that support our customers’ increased demand for renewable energy is a key objective for our business,” said David Sinclair, LG&E and KU vice president of energy supply and analysis, in a statement.
Alternatively, LG&E and KU customers can purchase their own solar panels and receive a 7 cents per kilowatt hour credit for the excess energy they put back into the grid.
LG&E and KU and parent company PPL Corporation say they plan to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
The world’s leading body on climate science, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warns the planet is already locked into 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming and humans need to eliminate use of fossil fuels as fast as possible to avoid the worst impacts of rapid climate change.