Kentucky Utilities is asking for state approval to build a 36 million dollar solar power plant in central Kentucky.
If KU’s request is granted by the State Public Service Commission, the facility would be built adjacent to the coal-fired complex already in place at the Burgin plant. Utility Spokesman Cliff Feltham says the solar plant would feature a large number of sunlight gathering panels.
Feltham says it’s not about replacing coal fired units.
“A comparative amount solar panels to offset the number of megawatts that each one of the three coal fired units that exist there at Brown. We don’t have enough acreage to have the solar equivalent of what would be the 500 megawatts of electricity,” said Feltham.
Feltham says 96 percent of K-U’S energy is now produced at coal-fired plants. He doesn’t foresee solar becoming a major factor in producing electricity in the near future.
Feltham says the utility is also moving to combined natural gas to fuel electricity generation.
“The combined cycle natural gas units are going to be more environmentally friendly than the coal fired units and we anticipate that the solar units will be even more environmentally friendly than the natural gas units. So, it’s a step toward being even more environmental friendly for our company,” added Feltham.
If approval is granted in the next six months, the solar plant could be operational in 2016.