What are the challenges of renewables in Kentucky?
Historically, solar and wind technologies are more expensive and less reliable than other means of generating power, and Kentucky does not have consistently adequate supplies of renewable energy sources to meet the long-term energy needs every hour, of every day in a least-cost manner.
The intermittent nature of renewable resources such as solar and wind require additional investments in other forms of generation (typically assumed to be natural gas) in order to reliably provide electricity to customers when they want it. This additional “integration” cost can increase significantly as renewable resources increase as a share of total generating capacity. One of the reasons why the Companies are proposing to build the Brown Solar Facility is to better understand these integration issues and the impact on the reliable operation of the power grid.
Further, importing renewable energy from other regions of the U.S. where it’s more practical and plentiful is not a cost-effective option today because of the added cost of transmission for the power. It is too expensive to move power such long distances.
What is LG&E and KU's energy mix now, and what will it look like in the future?
Currently, 80 to 90 percent of our energy is produced using coal, 9 to 19 percent from natural gas and one percent from renewables. (The amount of coal and natural gas generation will ultimately depend on the relative price of coal and natural gas.)
As we plan for the future, we continue our efforts to maintain a diverse generation portfolio and are continually evaluating potential energy supplies to determine which available sources would allow us to sufficiently provide safe, reliable, least-cost energy using commercially-available technologies.