Environment

Louisville Gas and Electric has completed upgrades on the historic Ohio Falls Generating Station.

Utility spokesman Daniel Lowry said LG&E has improved energy output and reliability without diminishing the plant’s historic charm.

“In a sense, it’s like walking back in time, it’s like walking into the past because this has been producing electricity since 1927,” Lowry said.

The station is located about three miles from downtown Louisville, next to Shipping Port Island and the Falls of the Ohio.

Inside, the station still has original tile floors and wood handrails. Even the dials in the control room remain, he said.

But under the hood of the station’s eight generators, the parts are all brand new. To make the upgrades, each unit had to be rebuilt one at a time over the last 13 years. LG&E also upgraded the plant’s software and safety measures.

The modernization efforts improve the station’s energy output to about 100 megawatts.

The Ohio Falls Generating Station is one of two hydro electric power plants owned by Louisville Gas and Electric. The other, Dix Dam, has also been operating since the 1920s.

When the Ohio Falls Generating Station first opened, it provided most of the electricity Louisville needed to run. Today it makes just a fraction of the utility’s energy portfolio.

About 65 percent of the utility’s generating capacity comes from coal, 34 percent natural gas and only 1 percent renewable (both hydro and solar).

Lowry said the upgrades ensure the station will continue to produce renewable power for decades to come.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.