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KU seeking more power generation

Kentucky Utilities and affiliated company Louisville Gas and Electric have announced they are seeking to purchase up to 700 megawatts of power generation supply.

The request for proposals issued late last week is the latest step in the companies' move to modify how it produces electricity to meet more stringent federal environmental standards.

The utilities previously announced plans to end coal-fired power generation at three of its older plants — Cane Run, Green River and Tyrone — by the end of 2015. To offset the 800 or so megawatts of generation that is being lost, the companies have received approval from the state Public Service Commission to build a 640-megawatt natural gas combined cycle generation unit at the Cane Run plant.

The companies had also initially planned to purchase natural gas-fired peaking units that are named as such because they are used when energy demand is at its peak. That plan fell through, though, because some federal approval requirements weren't commercially justifiable, said spokesman Brian Phillips.

The 700 megawatts of generation being sought in this request for proposals, he said, will help offset the remainder of the losses of coal-fired generation and help meet future increases in demand.

The companies plan to consider options that would have them either purchase the power from providers or buy the assets that produce it.

"The companies will consider all types of generation technology, and any responses selected will be based on the lowest reasonable cost means of meeting customers' long-term energy needs," according to a statement.

Phillips said the companies will also consider alternative power generation that would prevent it from needing to upgrade two existing coal-fired units at its E.W. Brown plant.

The companies had planned to make those improvements already but wound up deferring them as part of a settlement agreement in the case before the PSC last year.

"We're trying to keep our options open to produce a decision that's the best overall long-term solution," Phillips said.

Proposals are to be submitted by Nov. 2. To learn more, visit Lge-ku.com/rfp.

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