Several Kentucky cities and utility companies have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to modernize and rehabilitate hydropower plants along the Cumberland River.
Project manager Jay Sadler says the agreement implemented Tuesday allows the municipalities to maintain service by helping pay for the much-needed improvements.
"Our plants are experiencing unforced outages more and more often. And when our power is not available, they have to go to the open market and buy power from other sources. And typically speaking, the power they buy is several times the cost of what we can provide power by."
Sadler says the oldest hydropower plant in the Nashville District was built in 1949, and the last one was built in 1977. The modernization project involves a 20-year master plan.
In Kentucky, local governments and utilities that buy power from the Corps of Engineers include the Frankfort Plant Board, the cities of Bardstown, Paris, and Nicholasville, and the East Kentucky Power Cooperative.