The request, submitted through PPL Corporation subsidiaries Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, is meant to help offset 800 MW of coal power that PPL shuttered due to increased federal environmental regulations.
PPL already has one new natural gas facility under construction, and had previously announced its intentions for these latest additions in October. Regulatory approval is an important step in the process of bringing these new power sources to fruition, and investors now have a better idea of exactly what the utility has in store.
PPL will seek approval to add a $700 million 700 MW natural gas plant on top of its currently in-construction 640 MW unit, and will also build a $36 million 10 MW solar facility.
In a statement released today, PPL Vice President of State Regulation and Rates Ed Staton noted:
Our filing outlines the importance and the need for this additional generation. Due to the more stringent environmental regulations, we are planning to retire six of our older-coal fired units, which will require us to build additional units to serve our customers' energy needs in the future. Our plan creates economic development in western Kentucky and provides LG&E and KU customers with reliable, low-cost energy that will meet the latest set of federal EPA regulations.
If approved, the solar farm is expected to come online in 2016, with the natural gas plant following in 2018. The power generation reorganization would put the two utilities' combined generation capacity at 59% coal, 40% natural gas, and 1% renewable.