electricity

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A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul would allow Fort Knox to continue producing natural gas to power the Army base.

Almost a year ago, Fort Knox became the first U.S. base to generate all of its own electricity. The move was spurred by the region’s 2009 ice storm; parts of Fort Knox lost power for nearly a week and highlighted the national security need for the base to become self-sufficient.

“It was pretty devastating, and Fort Knox was without power for upwards of seven days in some places,” Fort Knox Energy Manager R.J Dyrdek said in March.

The transition was helped by the discovery of natural gas reserves under the property. Now, Fort Knox is powered by a mixture of solar power, on-site natural gas and geothermal. In 2013, the post unveiled the largest solar panel array on a military installation east of the Mississippi River.

Developing natural gas resources on federal lands usually falls to the Department of the Interior. The bill introduced last week by Paul, a Republican, would make Fort Knox an exception and allow the Department of Defense to keep producing natural gas to power the site.

Bowling Green Municipal Utilities and the Tennessee Valley Authority are asking customers – both businesses and residential – to assist in conserving power today.  Temperatures are expected to remain frigid through Friday, further taxing the electric grid. Shelley Lowe with BGMU says homeowners can take easy steps to save energy.

“It can be simple things like at home, not running your appliances. If you can wait a few days – that would be great; lowering your thermostat to 60 degrees and reducing the usage of lights and unplugging things that aren’t in use,” said Lowe.

Lowe says this “emergency load curtailment” request may be lifted on Friday as temperatures gradually warm. The National Weather Service predicts highs in the mid-20s by Friday and upper 30s by Saturday.

TVA

The Associated Press is reporting that both of the nuclear power plants operated by TVA in Tennessee had unplanned reactor outages last month. The outage at each plant lasted two days, according to a spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Federal officials now say coal accounts for slightly more than one-third of the electricity generated in the United States. Coal's percentage of the market hasn't been that low in decades.