Situated on the banks of Lake Herrington near Harrodsburg, Ky., the E.W. Brown Plant is unique in that it showcases four generations of electricity-producing processes — a hydroelectric plant, three fossil-fueled generating units, seven combustion turbines and a universal solar facility.
The three coal-fired generators can produce 749 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 E.W. Brown Station.
The newest addition to the E.W. Brown Plant is a 10-megawatt universal solar facility that stretches across 50 acres of the plant’s property. It uses more than 44,000 solar panels on fixed tilt rack systems that are positioned to optimize the available sunlight for producing energy. Commercial operation began in spring 2016. The facility is projected to produce 19,000 megawatt-hours of energy annually, enough to provide energy for 1,500 homes based on a usage of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month.
The universal solar facility is part of LG&E and KU’s continuous efforts to meet customers’ energy needs while evaluating new potential energy options. The facility will allow the utilities an opportunity to learn more about this technology, including how commercial-scale solar energy is impacted by factors such as cloud cover and how it integrates with the existing generating units.
The plant’s seven combustion turbine units are in service at the E.W. Brown facility, some of which are jointly owned by LG&E. Four of the combustion turbine units deliver 110 megawatts of power each; two have a capacity rating of 164 megawatts each; and one can produce 127 megawatts. All but one 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 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 Fahrenheit. These gases are forced to a turbine, which uses the energy to propel the generator and create electricity.
As a result of the new stricter Environmental Protection Agency's regulations, improvements have been made on Brown Unit 3 and the Brown ash pond is being converted to a dry storage landfill.
Brown units 1 and 2 will continue to operate as always and the installation of additional emission controls will be deferred to get a clearer picture of pending federal environmental regulations.
In your community
An important part of the company’s mission is to positively impact the communities in which it does business by supporting education, community outreach, environmental stewardship and the arts. Employees and contracted employees of E.W. Brown have a long tradition of volunteer service, community involvement and support of local charities. These and similar efforts contribute to the well-being and success of the communities in which we work and live, and reinforce LG&E and KU’s commitment to be both an employer of choice and a good corporate citizen.
Some of the local organizations and charitable causes our E.W. Brown employees are proud to support include:
- The plant general manager and other staff members are members of the Herrington Lake Conservation League. This organization is dedicated to the preservation of the natural beauty of Herrington Lake and the surrounding water shed.
- The E.W. Brown CARE Club was formed in 1988 and continues to raise money for local families in need. The club has helped hundreds of families in the local area.
- Several meetings each year are conducted to keep fence-line neighbors aware of activities at the plant.
- Plant staff are actively involved in local civic groups and school system advisory boards.
- In the past several years many plant personnel have been recognized as “Leadership Givers” to the local United Way.
- Employees regularly donate to the local back-to-school supply drive program that provides school supplies to disadvantaged students in the community.
E.W. Brown Generating Station Quick Facts
- Net generating capacity: 759 megawatts
- Original startup date: 1957
- Fuel: Coal
- Annual fuel consumption: Approximately 1.6 million tons
- Number of units in Service: 3
- Emission controls: FGD, Low NOx, ESP
- Net generating capacity: 895 megawatts
- Original startup date: 1995
- Fuel: Natural Gas
- Number of units in Service: 7
Universal Solar Facility
- Generating capacity: 10 megawatts (19,000 megawatt hours)
- Peak efficiency: The site is projected to produce its full efficiency 400 hours annually (4.5% of the year)
- Land use: 50 acres
- Original startup date: Spring 2016
- Fuel: Sun
- Number of panels: 44,000+