Energy

Kentucky Coal Plant Could Be Next On Chopping Block

REUTERS

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

A power plant operator notified Kentucky regulators Tuesday that it was quitting the state’s Station Two power plant in 2019 after several unprofitable years.

Big Rivers Electric Corporation is terminating its long-term operating agreement in about a year, giving regulators and Henderson Municipal Power and Light (HMPL), the utility that owns Station Two, time to find another operator if the plant is to continue running.

“We’ve experienced losses for several years,” Big Rivers Spokeswoman Jennifer Keach told S&P Global Platts. After operating the coal plant since its opening in 1972, Station Two is “no longer capable of normal, continuous, reliable operation in an economic manner.”

HMPL will decide the future of the plant in the coming months, either finding another operator or closing the plant down.

The decision likely hinges on what the needs of the area are, and whether enough wholesale power can be bought off the market to meet the demand of consumers.

Another coal plant, the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, is set to be decommissioned decades before it was originally scheduled to be shut down.

A campaign to save the plant, which supports about 700 jobs filled by the Hopi and Navajo tribal members, has attracted two potential buyers interested in a joint partnership, but the deal must close by mid-May. Otherwise, the plant will likely shut down.

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