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An Update on Cane Run 7

It’s been a little over two years since we began construction on the new Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) Generating Unit that will replace the coal-fired generation at our Cane Run Generating Station. We’re still on schedule to bring the new NGCC Unit, called Cane Run 7, into operation in May, but a few things need to happen before we do that.

One of the significant milestones in any new generating unit is first fire, when natural gas is ignited for the first time in the combustion turbines. Another necessary part of the process is called a steam blow, which is critical to ensure the integrity and proper working condition of the boiler and steam turbines. We anticipate:

• First fire is anticipated the week of Feb. 8

• Steam blows to start around Feb. 13 and to conclude the week of March 9

These steps will occur off and on throughout this period.

You may notice a temporary plume from the new stacks as the non-hazardous protective coating (applied to the heat recovery steam generator tubes for shipping) burns off. You may also hear a low rumble and notice a plume of steam during the steam blows.

In keeping with our construction permit, noise levels will not exceed 55 decibels at the property line. In fact, our business partner, Bluegrass Power Constructors (BPC), will use silencers designed to reduce noise levels to 50 decibels at the source. For comparison, 50 decibels is comparable to sounds from light traffic or an appliance such as a refrigerator or dishwasher.

Again, first fire and steam blows are normal parts of the startup procedure. Once Cane Run 7 goes online, it will not be necessary for us to repeat these steps during normal operations.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we approach the final stages of bringing Cane Run 7 into operation. As always, we invite you to let us know if you have any questions or need additional information about the work we’re doing here at the Cane Run Generating Station.


Innovative and cost-effective power generation

Cane Run Generating Station was the answer to Louisville’s electricity needs during the dynamic decade of the 1950s. Construction of this new coal-fired plant was started in 1952 to help meet the demand for electricity by industries that located in this area during and after the Second World War.

Cane Run began operation in November 1954, and by 1969 operated a total of six units. The new units were added in 1956, 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1969, increasing the total generating capacity to 943 megawatts.

Units 1, 2 and 3 were retired by 1987. Units 4, 5 and 6 are still operational, with a current net generating capacity of 563 megawatts. Cane Run also operates five combustion turbines located in the Louisville Metro area with a combined net generating capacity of 221 megawatts.

The primary fuel for the Cane Run plant is high-sulfur coal shipped by rail from western Kentucky and southern Indiana. The plant currently burns about 1.5 million tons annually. The station’s environmental controls include an electrostatic precipitator, low-NOx burners, and a wet lime scrubber.

July 1979 — President Jimmy Carter visits Cane Run

LG&E pioneered SO2 removal technology, and helped develop and install one of the nation’s first SO2 scrubbers in 1973. Scrubbers are environmental controls that remove SO2 from gases produced by burning coal. LG&E received coveted awards and was recognized nationally and internationally for its efforts in the use of scrubbers. In July 1979, President Jimmy Carter visited Cane Run to learn about the operation of a coal-fired plant and see LG&E’s scrubbers in action.

Carter advocated the use of coal in ways that would not be harmful to the environment, and he specifically chose to visit an LG&E plant because of the company’s reputation for being a leader in the development and use of scrubbers. The presidential visit was a proud moment for Cane Run Station and LG&E. Many of the employees who were present then are still with the company today.