Fayette County

Kentuckian will co-chair national conference on utilities, climate change

FRANKFORT — Jim Gardner, vice chairman of the Kentucky Public Service Commission, will co-chair a national conference looking at how climate change policies will affect utilities.

"Utilities of the Future: Implications of a Carbon Constrained World" will take place in Dallas in early December. It is sponsored by the National Association of Utility Regulatory Commissions and the National Council of Electricity Policy.

Coal-burning power plants are expected to be early targets of legislation and regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, or CO², is thought to be the principal cause of global climate change.

"With our reliance on coal to generate nearly all of our electricity, no state will be affected more than Kentucky by coming constraints on carbon emissions from power plants," Gardner said.

The carbon constraints, expected to make burning coal more expensive, are "inevitable," Garner said.

"The challenge for us in Kentucky is to determine how to meet those constraints while maintaining financially healthy utilities that can provide reliable service at a reasonable cost to their customers," he said.