LG&E, KU to switch to natural gas? Not if the Kentucky Coal Association can help it.

According to an article in The Courier-Journal, the answer is “don’t hold your breath.”

Three Kentucky coal-fired plants operated by the PPL-owned utilities are slated to convert to natural gas within five years, including LG&E’s Cane Run Road plant, which currently spews over 4.5 million pounds of climate-change-causing, human life-imparing chemicals into the atmosphere annually.

From The CJ’s James Bruggers:

According to long-range planning documents filed late last week with the Public Service Commission, the other two plants that could shut down coal-fired operations by 2016 are KU’s Green River plant in Central City in Western Kentucky, and KU’s Tyrone station in Versailles, which has already been mothballed temporarily.

The changes, if they happen, could improve air quality in the Louisville area and lessen conflicts with Cane Run plant neighbors, who complain of blowing soot and toxic ash getting on and into their homes.

Later in the story, a PPL spokeswoman says to not read too much into this, likely because it would upset PPL’s stock value, which is only natural.

Indeed, the Kentucky Coal Association’s President, Bill Bissett, (who is a big fan of incumbent Gov. Steve “Get off our backs!” Beshear and gives free chicken fingers to our state’s apparently starving lawmakers) had nothing pleasant to say about the switch to natural gas for painfully obvious but untrue reasons.

“We strongly believe that coal will remain the dominant form of electricity generation for the commonwealth for many generations to come,” he said.

Bissett added that any moves by domestic utilities to reduce using coal probably won’t dampen overall demand for it. He said any Kentucky coal not sold to in-state or other U.S. utilities will likely be purchased by other countries, including China.

… which is a funny belief considering that the industry in Appalachia alone has already peaked, production- and job-wise, and that the fiscal risk of constructing new coal plants is too astronomical to even be worth it, but, what’s that? You’re not finished?

“Our association continues to get calls seeking coal,” Bissett said.

Sure you do, Bissett. Sure you do.

One Comment

  1. Mark
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    It certainly didn’t take long for PPL to find a way to raise electric rates did it? Coal in a very stable commodity that America has a lot of, enough for centuries. Natural gas is plentiful today but but with increasing demand its stability in the future is questionable. We should be utilizing the resources we have in vast quantities coal instead of switching to commodities that others control. Even if you truly believe global warming is true there are ways to make burning coal just as clean as burning natural gas!