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Ohio Valley Electric to keep running Kyger Creek, Clifty Creek coal plants to at least 2040

Highlights

2017 capacity factors of up to 63.1%

OVEC integrated into PJM December 1

Louisville, Kentucky — Ohio Valley Electric intends to keep running its 1,300-MW Clifty Creek and 1,086-MW Kyger Creek coal-fired power plants in Indiana and Ohio, respectively, through June 1, 2040, according to OVEC co-owners Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities.

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LG&E/KU, Kentucky's two largest electric utilities, said in a response to the Sierra Club on the Kentucky Public Service Commission website Thursday that Piketon, Ohio-based OVEC has "no planned retirement dates" for either Clifty Creek or Kyger Creek. The filing was part of LG&E/KU's pending rate case.

Sierra Club has been pushing to retire both Clifty Creek and Kyger Creek, citing their advancing age and relative inefficiency compared with newer generating plants. OVEC and its several utility co-owners have pushed back, saying the plants are still needed to serve load.

LG&E/KU also told the Sierra Club the combined annualized capacity factors for Clifty Creek and Kyger Creek averaged from 47.1% in 2015 to 63.2% in 2017, adding they did not have capacity factor figures for 2018.

American Electric Power is the largest co-owner of OVEC, controlling more than 40% of the company. Buckeye Power and Duke Energy Ohio are the next largest co-owners while LG&E/KU own less than 10%.

The heat rate for Clifty Creek was 10,505 Btu/kWh in the first half of 2018, while the Kyger Creek heat rate averaged 10,658 Btu/kWh, according to LG&E/KU.

On December 1, PJM Interconnection, a Pennsylvania-based regional grid operator, integrated OVEC as a new transmission zone within PJM.

LG&E/KU own in excess of 5,000 MW of coal-fired generation. In their October integrated resource plan, they said they only plan to retire a small coal unit at the E.W. Brown power plant in early 2019, but intend to continue operating their remaining major coal plants including Ghent, Mill Creek and Trimble County.

-- Bob Matyi, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com