The EPA’s war on jobs comes to Kentucky

posted at 10:05 am on September 21, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

As headlines go, this one doesn’t exactly scream for attention. “LG&E to convert Cane Run power plant

Cane Run is a coal fired power plant outside of Louisville, Kentucky. In the next few years it’s going to be replaced with a new facility. (Really exciting so far, eh?)

Louisville Gas & Electric Co. intends to replace its 57-year-old coal-fired Cane Run Station in Louisville with a new plant next door powered with cleaner-burning natural gas by 2016.

The 640-megawatt natural gas unit would be built on the power plant site along the Ohio River in southwest Jefferson County, where the company also has a large coal waste landfill and ash pond, company officials announced on Thursday.

LG&E and its sister company, Kentucky Utilities, also announced that they are asking the Kentucky Public Service Commission to approve their purchase of the Bluegrass Generation Co.’s plant in Oldham County with its three natural gas turbines. That plant in Buckner began electricity production in 2002.

Right up front I should point out that I have no problem with old, inefficient, coal fired plants being upgraded to natural gas when they reach the end of their life. Natural gas is a fine energy source, burns pretty cleanly, and we’ve got lots of it in the United States. Such conversions are a business decision which many communities may decide to make. However, there’s one problem with the LG&E story: they aren’t doing this on their own schedule. They’re being forced into it prematurely to meet new EPA regulations, and it’s going to come with a hefty price tag. The company had originally anticipated being able to keep the plant in service for a minimum of twenty more years, and possibly longer with new technology upgrades.

“’The ever more stringent environmental regulations have forced us to take a hard look at how we generate electricity, howwe will comply with the new federal EPA requirements, and how to best limit the potential cost increase on our customers and the community,’ said Paul W. Thompson, senior vice president of energy services for the two companies, in a written statement.”

Just how costly will it be? Their initial estimate is that it’s going to run more than $800M to switch over now. (Gee… I wonder who’s going to wind up paying for that?) And there’s an additional cost besides the raw monetary bill. When you shut down a plant like this, you suddenly lose more than 200 … what do you call those things again? Oh, yes… jobs. It may come as some comfort to the workers that a company representative said they will, “try to retain” as many of them as they can.

This is just one local story, but it’s part of the larger battle being waged over the EPA’s Utility MACT Rules. (Maximum achievable control technology.) There are plenty of other examples rolling out today. For an additional case study, see what’s going on in Indianapolis. We were warned well in advance that there were going to be real world consequences from these regulations and they would come in the form of lost jobs and reduced energy supplies, particularly during high demand periods. We’re going to see a similar situation playing out in Texas next year, so stay tuned and hang on to your ten gallon hats. It may turn into a bumpy ride from here on out.

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I’d say welcome to the war, but that doesn’t sound very nice.

cozmo on September 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Welcome to what Texas has been putting up with since O’Blamer was elected.

Wino on September 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Under my plan, your electricity prices are going to skyrocket

rbj on September 21, 2011 at 10:11 AM

So another 200 Americans lose their jobs, it’s a small price to pay to keep the seas from washing over NYC.

Apparently Jazz Shaw has never seen the documentary “The Day After Tomorrow”.

Bishop on September 21, 2011 at 10:12 AM

How can you ever be in favor of phasing out dirty old power plants if your primary concern is protecting jobs?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

There is good and bad about Perry, but one thing I can say: he hates the EPA, and is the most likely of the candidates to shut it down.

Vashta.Nerada on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The first thing we do to our enemy during a war is bomb his energy supply with which he manufactures weapons and wages war.

Obama Bombs are wiping out the USA’s energy supply under cover of a fabricated “Dirtyness” challenge made against the beneficial co2 trace gas.

The enemy’s fifth column has sabotaged us from within, while disguised in white lab coats as regulators following hoax scientists.

jimw on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I didn’t know Kentucky had any coal fired operations Jazz, I thought the entire state was powered by the TVA Dam/hydroelectric stuff like I had when living in Western Kentucky.

Cheapest electric bills ever.

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Obama: Kills Jobs Dead!

pilamaye on September 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

What’s a few rolling blackouts when the EPA is trying to protect the very Earth itself? Sure you might be sweltering in 100F heat while your store is looted by thugs taking advantage of the darkened city, but a few eggs have to be broken to make a waffle.

Bishop on September 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM

He said ratepayers are already on the hook for the costs of any new EPA rules. “Senate Bill 251 passed in Indiana this year, saying that whatever the EPA does, the public pays, so (the power companies) have full cost recovery.”

Was 251 an attempt to get the EPA to slow down on this madness and the EPA doesn’t care ? Is there a Bill 251 for every state esp in the midwest?

journeyintothewhirlwind on September 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Obama: Kills Jobs Dead!

pilamaye on September 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

If that isn’t a bumper sticker, it should be.

Extrafishy on September 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Apparently Jazz Shaw has never seen the documentary “The Day After Tomorrow”.

Bishop on September 21, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Hey that hurrican Irene was real, man! Storm of the century. Jake G. has nothing on that.

RDE2010 on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

jimw on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

As if CO2 is all you have to worry about. Why don’t you set up shop down wind from a coal smoke stack? Why not let a coal plant dump its radioactive ash in your back yard? Im sure you would be rewarded for offering up your land.

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

The enemy’s fifth column has sabotaged us from within, while disguised in white lab coats as regulators following hoax scientists.

jimw on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

An excellent analogy…of course, the first attack on war is to cut off supplies, and that is exactly what Obama has done with regulations.

right2bright on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

RDE2010 on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

So just switch that stuff I wrote.

RDE2010 on September 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I’m working in Tennessee and Kentucky right now and the ads are running hard. One that got me was a “Evangelical” group that is using the dodge that state representatives are not very pro-life if they support coal use because they claim is causes mercury poisoning in the unborn.

hawkdriver on September 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Great, I’m screwed. My wife already got laid off a year ago. Now our bills will go up even more. Tried to sell my house; nothing.

fossten on September 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I didn’t know Kentucky had any coal fired operations Jazz, I thought the entire state was powered by the TVA Dam/hydroelectric stuff like I had when living in Western Kentucky.

Cheapest electric bills ever.

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Just so you know, TVA has a very large coal fired plant in Western Kentucky. It’s called the Paradise plant a few miles from Central City on the Green River. In addition Big Rivers RECC also had three plant sites with medium sized coal fired units and Owensboro Municipal Utilities had several. Kentucky Utilities had/has a coal fired plant just outside Central City called the Mogg Plant. As far as I know the only hydro plant that TVA has in Kentucky is the one on the Tennessee River that forms Kentucky and Barkley lakes and, although fairly large, wouldn’t serve all of Kentucky by any means. Most of Kentucky’s electric power comes from coal.

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

As if CO2 is all you have to worry about. Why don’t you set up shop down wind from a coal smoke stack? Why not let a coal plant dump its radioactive ash in your back yard? Im sure you would be rewarded for offering up your land.

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

And where does that exist? In China where we are sending our jobs? Yeah, that helps the environment of the world.
Let me ask you a simple question…would you allow clean coal burning plant in your city…or would you starve your children.
You see, that is the option the EPA gives, either comply or we will close you down and all the workers, are no longer working.
And please, don’t give that,radioactive ash from the coal plant junk science…our plants have been upgraded to be some of the cleanest in the world.
Oh, and just to make sure you get it, I live within five miles of a coal burning plant (30 year old plant), and haven’t ever seen any of the effects that you whining liberals suggest.
Meanwhile, your dearest leader, has put roadblocks to stop the building of clean nuclear energy plants…rationalize that you liberal fool.

right2bright on September 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

That’s OK, we BEAT KENTUCKY on Saturday. We’ll worry about it next week.

mgman on September 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Their initial estimate is that it’s going to run more than $800M to switch over now. (Gee… I wonder who’s going to wind up paying for that?)

I wonder who is going to get paid by that too.

As headlines go, this one doesn’t exactly scream for attention. “LG&E to convert Cane Run power plant”

“Rural broadband” doesn’t sound too controversial at first blush either, but now we have Obama.

forest on September 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Knucklehead, most of the state is run on coal. Coal was the major industry until Clinton and then had started to resurrect under Bush. Obviously under “Teh Won” and his EPA it will sink again. There’s been some billboards in the Louisville area concerning coal and “Friends of Coal” but I don’t know if KY’s dem governor is going to go to the mat against the EPA like Perry would in Texas. It’s not a good situation.

LtBarnwell02 on September 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

IPL says ratepayers can expect to see increases of 2-3% each year for several years.

MISO (midwest/northeast power consortium)- says 46 plants will need to be shut down and oh, please expect to see increases of 7% in your power bills.

In this economy do you see people getting 2-3% raises a year each year, every year so that this is wallet neutral? And since many seniors get help with their bills it will more likely be 4-6% per year for several years.

journeyintothewhirlwind on September 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

How can you ever be in favor of phasing out dirty old power plants if your primary concern is protecting jobs?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Ask Obama

IowaWoman on September 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Why not let a coal plant dump its radioactive ash in your back yard? Im sure you would be rewarded for offering up your land.

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I know that’s a popular myth, that coal flyash is radioactive. However I once gathered samples of fresh flyash from one of our dirt burners and had our health physics department do a counts on them for radioactivity using a multichannel analyzer. Guess what, they were dead samples no detectable radiation. I realize that’s anecdotal but it’s real world evidence not some urban legend.

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Great, I’m screwed. My wife already got laid off a year ago. Now our bills will go up even more. Tried to sell my house; nothing.

fossten on September 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Hang in there brother, lots of things will be reversed in 2013. You and yours are in a lot of folks here (HA) prayers. Stay strong.

VegasRick on September 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I did not know that, I stand corrected. I have a home right on Kentucky Lake, serviced by Kentucky Dam and then there is the Barkley Dam/Cumberland River. I get my power from the West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.

All I know is that it’s cheap, cheap, cheap.

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Well, isn’t this just grand. I live in Lexington, and get my service from KU. This will make around the 6th shuttered plant here in KY. The others were part of AEP, LG&E (Louisville G&E), and RECC.

I’m glad this is happening here when it is. Hopefully our energy costs necessarily skyrocket. Maybe then all of the true blue (not UK fans) Dem voters will see what the EPA hath wrought. It needs to come to the front door step of a bunch of people for it to really hit home.

preallocated on September 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Correcting Perry’s Lies

Oh yes,there is the Daily Kos from a Google search:

Analysis shows that the most recently proposed upgrades to the Clean Air Act would create nearly 1.5 million jobs, and the protections afforded by these clean air safeguards are estimated to save 4.2 million lives while providing $2 trillion in economic benefits by 2020.

Get a lefty to explain it. I am lost.

IlikedAUH2O on September 21, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I didn’t know Kentucky had any coal fired operations Jazz, I thought the entire state was powered by the TVA Dam/hydroelectric stuff like I had when living in Western Kentucky.

Cheapest electric bills ever.

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Yea, there are several on the Big Sandy River near Ashland as well as a couple in West/Central KY.

That’s OK, we BEAT KENTUCKY on Saturday. We’ll worry about it next week.

mgman on September 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

It’s pretty easy to do when every person in the entire stadium could tell you what KY’s next play was going to be. Either Newton is an absolutely terrible QB and is limited to variations on 4 plays or the offensive coordinator has got to go, and possibly the coach too.

I got bored and left midway through the 3rd quarter. Beat all the traffic :-/

preallocated on September 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

In the meantime, the Chinese are building coal fired plants like mad.

But on MSNBC, they asked a Chinese official about about global warming and whether it was a controversial subject in his country. He answered that his nation’s leaders were all scientifically trained so there was no discussion about it. The MSNBC people lapped it up. If you look closely, that comment could be taken two ways.

Can you imagine how the Chinese and others are amused by Dear Leader and our liberals?

IlikedAUH2O on September 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

So, who did Kentucky go for in the 2008 election? Oh, right, McCain by 16%.

Well, that explains a lot.

iurockhead on September 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Other EPA news…

Did you know they declared hay to be a pollutant?

Hay – bundled grass, that hay.

Smart Power!

Rebar on September 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Here’s your rate.

August 2011 Rates
Residential

Base Customer Charge – $21.65 per month per delivery point
Energy Charge – First 800 kWh per month at 10.749 cents per kWh
Additional kWh per month at 9.981cents per kWh

That’s not cheap, cheap, cheap. You must not use a lot of electricity. Here’s what I pay in Virginia. It’s about half what you pay per Kwh.

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Sorry my 11:01 post was for

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM

How can you ever be in favor of phasing out dirty old power plants if your primary concern is protecting jobs?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

How can you be in favor of killing hundreds thousands millions of jobs in exchange for feel good (sic), unnecessary liberal agenda over reach?

Speakup on September 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM

However, there’s one problem with the LG&E story: they aren’t doing this on their own schedule. They’re being forced into it prematurely to meet new EPA regulations, and it’s going to come with a hefty price tag. The company had originally anticipated being able to keep the plant in service for a minimum of twenty more years, and possibly longer with new technology upgrades.

When are the House Republicans going to grow a pair and defund the EPA until Congress gets control of it? Since there’s still no budget for fiscal 2012, which starts in 10 days, NOW IS THE TIME!!!

For an additional case study, see what’s going on in Indianapolis. We were warned well in advance that there were going to be real world consequences from these regulations and they would come in the form of lost jobs and reduced energy supplies, particularly during high demand periods.

Gee, Barry, good luck winning Indiana next year!

Barack Hussein Obama: America’s first blackOUT President.

Steve Z on September 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

That’s not cheap, cheap, cheap. You must not use a lot of electricity. Here’s what I pay in Virginia. It’s about half what you pay per Kwh.

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I’m just one person who hates air conditioning and uses ceiling fans to blow the cool air off the lake into the house at night.

Knucklehead on September 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

What’s another lost 200 jobs? No worries…

Khun Joe on September 21, 2011 at 11:12 AM

The first thing we do to our enemy during a war is bomb his energy supply with which he manufactures weapons and wages war.

Obama Bombs are wiping out the USA’s energy supply under cover of a fabricated “Dirtyness” challenge made against the beneficial co2 trace gas.

The enemy’s fifth column has sabotaged us from within, while disguised in white lab coats as regulators following hoax scientists.

jimw on September 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

THREAD WINNER !!!!!

honsy on September 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Lisa Jackson is an enemy of the people.

So is her boss.

novaculus on September 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM

MACT = Maximum achievable control technology

Methink the operative word, by design, in that acronym is “control”

Alden Pyle on September 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM

During the Clinton admin a bill was passed that I think was called “clean skies.” This mandated that any upgrades to power plants over a certain threshold include costly scrubbers and other equipment mandated by the Feds.
Well, guess what – the coal burning power plant down the street from me decided not to upgrade in any way because of these regulations. So, we as a community have an antiquated power plant spewing particulates into our air due to onerous federal regulations…
Had this power plant been able to respond to its customers without federal regulation I am pretty sure they would have upgraded the plant. Not to the level demanded by the feds but, the pollution would have decreased. Instead, we have this thing spewing particulates all over our community because the electricity provider doesn’t think it feasible to upgrade to the standards of the fed.
I wonder how many other communities have been caught in this web…

Babs on September 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Under our President Hugo Chavez, things have really gone off track for freedom.

Oh wait, did I say Hugo Chavez? Sorry my bad …

tarpon on September 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Welcome to the party, pal!

-Texas

stvnscott on September 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Smart Power!

Rebar on September 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

A free & prosperous America and the current EPA cannot coexist. One of them must die or drastically change.

Extrafishy on September 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

coal suckz

John the Libertarian on September 21, 2011 at 11:56 AM

KY voted against Obama.
This is punishment for that action…Chicago style.

angryed on September 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

How can you ever be in favor of phasing out dirty old power plants if your primary concern is protecting jobs?

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Because when the dirty old coal plants come to the end of their lives, there is a business need for a new plant. That new need is accounted for when companies make long term business decisions.

When Obama tells a company that a 50 year plant now only is good for 20 years, the company’s long term business model is thrown into the garbage. The extra cost is incurred by a combination of job cuts and increased prices for consumers.

This is business 101. Which is why you and every other liberal have no clue since you’ve never run a business and most of you have never even worked in a private enterprise organization.

angryed on September 21, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Why not let a coal plant dump its radioactive ash in your back yard?

This belief stems from a Scientific American article where a headline claimed coal ash was 100 times more radioactive than nuclear power plant waste\r. There’s a problem, it’s not true. SA corrected the error online and in a print edition and explained the errors and how they came about.

The radiation from coal ash is minimal to ZERO, and the author of the article took natural background radiation readings published about an area and extrapolated himself that the area must be radioactive because of the coal plant upwind. Actually it was the uranium and radium in the ground that was giving readings, not anything coming from the plant.

Contrary to liberals newest false eco-religious beliefs, burning coal does not make it radioactive, nor does it “release, enhance, or magnify” said radioactivity. The C-14 radioactivity that is present in coal is the same C-14 radioactivity that is present in all living or dead carbon based organisms.

IN ABSOLUTE REALITY, your front lawn is more radioactive than coal ash. The C-14 in coal has had millions of years of decay, the C-14 in your body and you lawn is new C-14 created in the troposphere and absorbed by plants and animals.

Jason Coleman on September 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Oldnuke on September 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

There would be faint traces of uranium. U-238 is the major isotope at 99.27% and has a half-life of 4.468×10^9 y. Which is about the age of our planet.

So, technically true, but not meaningful. Yeah, it’s just a scare tactic. So many people are radiophobic, they don’t realize that radiation naturally occurs in the environment.

LarryD on September 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Gee no GE gets to sell all the gas turbines, bet that doesn’t get you to thinking about Immelt and Bo’s relationship!

tim c on September 21, 2011 at 1:57 PM

ernesto on September 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Well then help a brother out and save some electricity by turning off your computer.

“We’re going to see a similar situation playing out in Texas next year…”

Try THIS year. Check on Luminant plants

gitarfan on September 21, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Well, isn’t this just grand. I live in Lexington, and get my service from KU. This will make around the 6th shuttered plant here in KY. The others were part of AEP, LG&E (Louisville G&E), and RECC.

I’m glad this is happening here when it is. Hopefully our energy costs necessarily skyrocket. Maybe then all of the true blue (not UK fans) Dem voters will see what the EPA hath wrought. It needs to come to the front door step of a bunch of people for it to really hit home.

preallocated on September 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Right next door to you (Versailles). My first thought when I read, “… who’s going to wind up paying for that?” was “ME!” I hope you are right about the voters waking up. I just wonder how far down this path we can go before we can’t get back.

Lan Astaslem on September 21, 2011 at 2:58 PM

I’d say welcome to the war, but that doesn’t sound very nice.

cozmo on September 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM

IT doesn’t sound nice.

It’s also not nice to lie to anyone.

And saying anything else would be at least partially dishonest.

Chaz706 on September 21, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Just how costly will it be? Their initial estimate is that it’s going to run more than $800M to switch over now.

Obama: “Electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket”

RJL on September 21, 2011 at 5:14 PM

We need the fly ash from burnt coal. It is part of the concrete for the infrastructure road building. Also natural gas gives off CO2. Same as coal. (Nancy pelosi says Natural gas is not a fossil fuel)

seven on September 21, 2011 at 5:21 PM

o, who did Kentucky go for in the 2008 election? Oh, right, McCain by 16%.
Well, that explains a lot.
iurockhead on September 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Obama couldn’t even beat Hill in the primary in the Bluegrass state.

HellCat on September 22, 2011 at 5:17 AM