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KU Power Plant Information

KU's power generating system consists primarily of five generating stations - Ghent in Carroll County, Tyrone in Woodford County, E.W. Brown in Mercer County and Green River in Muhlenberg County. All meet or exceed the Clean Air Act requirements applicable in the year 2000. KU has additional generating facilities, including the hydro generator at Dix Dam located next to the Dix System Control Center which is adjacent to the E.W. Brown Plant.

Additionally, natural gas fired-combustion turbines supplement the system during peak periods. KU has no nuclear generation facilities and none are planned. In addition, KU has approximately 600 electric substations and over 18,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines to serve its electric customers.

Ghent Generating Station (Coal-Fired)

  • GhentBegan commercial operation in 1973 with a net generating capacity of 2,000 megawatts.
  • One of the most environmentally sound and technologically advanced coal-fired generation plants in the nation. All of Ghent's generating units comply with the most stringent federal and state air, water, and waste regulations.
  • KU's newest and largest coal-fired power plant, the units at Ghent's 1,700-acre site generate approximately 75% of KU's electricity-more than the company's other four coal-burning generating stations combined.
  • Each of the generating units is equipped with electrostatic precipitators designed to remove dust from the gas stream that results from burning coal. A network of monitoring systems on the three chimneys measures air quality to ensure compliance with environmental protection standards.
  • In late 1994, a scrubber system was installed at Ghent Unit #1 and reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by at least 90%-from approximately 80,000 tons per year to less than 8,000 tons per year.
  • Five miles of pipeline and four miles of fiber optic "highway" connect the three scrubber modules, or towers, and auxiliary facilities. Each tower is capable of handling 50% of the unit's flue gases so that a spare module will always be available. Non-stop, 24 hours a day, the scrubber cleanses the flue gases from the unit.
  • The Ghent Generating Station is looked upon as a leader among international utilities. Recognized as a low-cost, electric producer, Ghent Station plays host to a number of international utility professionals. Representatives from China, Russia, South Africa, and other countries have visited the plant to learn the secret to low-cost, power production. These visitors find that efficient management can run the station with less than 230 employees, minimum waste, and maximum production.
  • Each of Ghent's four generating units can produce enough electricity to light five million, 100-watt light bulbs. The station consumes an average of 14,000 tons of coal daily.

Tyrone Generating Station (coal-fired) and
Haefling Combustion Turbine Station

  • TyroneSnuggled at the base of 200-foot high bluffs, Tyrone Generating Station is 52 years old. Built in 1947 on the Woodford County side of the Kentucky River between Versailles and Lawrenceburg, the station is in the famous "Palisades" district.
  • Construction started on the site in 1940 and equipment was scheduled for delivery in 1942, but construction was interrupted by the escalation of World War II. KU was asked to give up its commitment to the generating unit and, in the interest of the national defense, let it be sent to Russia, a World War II ally.
  • Groundbreaking occurred on December 12, 1945.
  • Unit #1, a 30-megawatt generator, began operation in 1947. Unit #2, 30 megawatts, and Unit #3, 75 megawatts, were in use by December 1953. All in all, Tyrone has a 135-megawatt capacity.
  • Today Unit #3 is the only Tyrone unit that continues to burn coal. Units 1 and 2 were converted to No. 2 fuel oil in the 1970s and are the only oil-fired, steam-driven units in KU's system. As such, they are used only when demand for electricity is unusually high.
  • Tyrone Station has aged well in the last 50+ years. Electrostatic precipitators and other environmental controls have been added to ensure compliance with air and water quality standards.
  • Tyrone employees also operate KU's Haefling Combustion Turbine units in Lexington. These three units began operation in 1970 and contribute 54 megawatts to KU's system.

E.W. Brown Generating Station

  • BrownSituated on the banks of Lake Herrington, the Brown Plant is unique in that it showcases three generations of electricity-producing processes.
  • The hydro plant, the forefather of today's units, when built was expected to supply electricity to KU's service area well into the 21st century. Today, however, the primary source of Brown's power is the three fossil-fueled generating units and the newest addition to the site, six combustion turbines.
  • Built in the 1920s, the Dix Dam Hydro Plant was a showplace filled with goldfish and flowers and hailed as the world's largest stone-filled dam. Originally a principal source of power, the hydro plant is now used mainly when heavy rainfall results in above normal lake elevation. The plant produces 24 megawatts of power with all three units on.
  • The second source of electricity generated at the Brown Plant is the conventional fossil fuel units. Three generators can produce 700 megawatts of electricity, more than one-fifth of KU's total capacity.
  • An average of 1.5 million tons of coal is burned annually at Brown Station.
  • The newest addition to the Brown Plant is the combustion turbine generating facility. Currently, six turbine units are in operation with an additional unit planned. Four of the combustion turbine units will deliver 110 megawatts of power each; two have a capacity rating of 164 megawatts each. They are fueled by either natural gas or fuel oil.
  • During periods of high demand, the combustion turbines can be started and come to full load in just 30 minutes-impressive when compared to the 10 hours needed to start up a coal-burning unit. The combustion turbine units use hot compressed gases to power the generator. Air is compressed and forced into a chamber where combustion takes place, producing gases of almost 2,000 degrees F. These gases are forced to a turbine, which uses the energy to propel the generator and create electricity.
  • The E.W. Brown Station has 142 employees, including those at the CT site.

Green River Generating Station

  • Green RiverKU's third largest generating plant is located on the banks of the Green River in western Kentucky. A four unit, 242-megawatt coal-fired plant, Green River is a pioneer in environmental protection and plant efficiency for the KU system.
  • In 1974, more than 25 years ago, the company's first commercial scrubber was installed at the Green River Station to clean the emissions from Units 1 and 2. The scrubber removes over 90% of the sulfur dioxide from the flue gas associated with burning coal.
  • In 1995, low nitrogen oxide burners were installed that adjust the fire in the boilers to control the amount of NOx reduced. Unit 4 boiler has 16 low NOx burners that cut its emission rate almost in half, well below the environmental requirements.
  • A final guardian in the generating station's environmental efficiency is the continuous emission monitoring system which samples the chemical composition of flue gas as it leaves the stack, measuring both NOx and SO2 levels.
  • The coal handling facility at Green River transfers approximately 1,600 tons of coal from trucks to the plant daily. The station burns approximately 400,000 tons of western Kentucky coal each year.

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