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Toyota, Dow seek to get power from 100-MW Ky. solar project

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Toyota, Dow seek to get power from 100-MW Ky. solar project

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. want state regulators to approve a series of contracts tied to a planned 100-MW solar project.

The PPL Corp. subsidiaries on Jan. 23 asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission to approve a 20-year contract with Rhudes Creek Solar LLC to buy the output of the generation facility to be built in Hardin County, Ky. The utilities also asked regulators to approve retail renewable power agreements with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. and Dow Silicones Corp., which will receive most of the solar facility's output.

Toyota has a manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky., while Dow has a silicones manufacturing site in Carrollton, Ky. Those companies are two of LG&E's and KU's largest industrial customers, the utilities said in a news release announcing the proposed contracts.

Under the agreements, Toyota will get 50% of the energy from the solar facility and Dow will take 25%. The remainder will be used for LG&E and KU customers.

Expected to be completed and commercially operational by 2022, the facility would be the biggest solar farm in Kentucky. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, LG&E and KU own the current largest operating solar project in the state, the 10-MW E.W. Brown Solar Project (Universal Solar Facility). The next biggest is the East Kentucky Power Cooperative Inc.'s 8.5-MW Cooperative Solar One (Clark County Solar) project.

In their application to the commission, LG&E and KU said customer demand for renewable energy has increased over the last several years. Toyota and Dow both expressed an interest in renewable energy to meet their own corporate sustainability goals, David Sinclair, vice president of energy supply and analysis for the utilities, told regulators.

The contract stems from a request for proposals that LG&E and KU issued in February 2019 for up to 200 MW of renewable energy. The facility from Rhudes Creek Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of ibV Energy Partners, was picked as the winning bidder.

Though the price the utilities will pay for the plant's output is redacted in the application, LG&E and KU said "the solar power contract provides a stable energy price for its 20-year term at a level that is competitive with the companies' coal and simple cycle natural gas generation."

The amount Toyota and Dow will pay also is redacted.

The companies asked the commission to make a decision on the contracts by March 31. (Kentucky PSC case 2020-00016)