The Kentucky Public Service Commission has signed off on a plan that lets Kentucky Power convert part of its Big Sandy power plant to natural gas.
The power plant in Eastern Kentucky has burned coal for half a century. But it’s facing new regulations on mercury and other toxic emissions, and Kentucky Power determined installing updated pollution controls would be too expensive.
Converting the smaller of Big Sandy’s two units to natural gas will cost an estimated $50 million, which will be passed on to ratepayers. The move will also keep part of the power plant open, and retain some jobs in the region. Last year, regulators approved a plan to shut down the plant’s larger unit and replace it with electricity generated at a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia.