LG&E to close coal-fired units eight months sooner than planned

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. said that it will shut down three coal units at the 563 MW Cane Run coal-fired power plant in Kentucky eight months earlier than originally planned.

The 640 MW natural gas-fired power plant being built to replace Cane Run’s output is expected to be completed in May 2015, allowing for the early closure of the coal units. Preliminary work has already started at Cane Run. The transmission lines on the property are being moved, and the communications tower has been relocated to make room for the new natural gas combined-cycle plant.

"Having received timely certificates and permits from the Kentucky Public Service Commission and other regulatory agencies, we were able to get a quick start on the project and now should be able to retire the coal-fired units sooner than expected," said Paul W. Thompson, senior vice president of Energy Services.

Bluegrass Power Constructors, who will be building the plant, is expected to begin mobilizing later this year with full construction beginning in the first quarter of 2013. The contract with Bluegrass specifies the May 2015 completion timetable and has penalties should Bluegrass extend beyond this time. At peak of the construction process, 250 construction jobs are expected to be created.

The Cane Run plant began operation in 1954, and by 1969, had a total of six coal-fired units in operation. Units 1, 2 and 3 were retired in 1987.

LG&E helped develop and install one of the nation's first sulfur dioxide scrubbers in 1973.

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