Science news

Ky. Utility Crews Lend Support in Florida

Oct 5, 2016

In preparation for damage from Hurricane Matthew, Kentucky is joining many other states in sending electrical repair crews to Florida. 

Kentucky Utilities Spokesman Cliff Feltham says the 130 workers are contractors who normally work on construction, tree trimming, and serve as line crews.  He says these workers come from all across Kentucky. 

Feltham says sending support to Florida won’t mean diminished service for customers in the Commonwealth.  The KU representative says it’s difficult to say where workers will end up in Florida and how long they will stay.


PSC to Seek Public Input on Columbia Gas Rate Case

Sep 1, 2016

  Lexington area Columbia Gas customers will get a chance to offer comments regarding the utility’s latest rate increase request.  It comes through a state Public Service Commission public meeting.

Under the request by Columbia Gas, typical residential customers would see an $11 increase in their monthly bills.  The utility says the increase is needed to recover costs of ongoing system improvements including removal of older gas mains that could pose safety concerns.  

State PSC Approves Kentucky American Rate Settlement

Aug 23, 2016


The State Public Service Commission has approved a settlement in Kentucky American Water Company’s rate increase case.  The order amounts to slightly less than half of the amount requested by the utility.

The settlement means a typical residential customer will see a monthly increase of $3 dollars 60 cents.  The new rates take effect August 28th.  It amounts to a six and a half million dollar boost in annual revenue to Kentucky American. 

U.S. Energy Secretary Comes to Energy Forum in Lexington

Apr 21, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    The U.S. Secretary of Energy is stressing what he’s calling “flexibility” when it comes to the future use of coal as an energy source in this country.  Ernie Moniz led off a regional energy forum at the University of Kentucky Thursday.

Instead of speaking in terms of coal going away as a power source, Secretary Moniz says the emphasis should be on an innovative agenda.  He says that includes furthering carbon capture technologies at UK and other universities. 

Hundreds of Miners In Lexington for Rescue Competition

Sep 16, 2015

Pennsylvania miners donned gas masks and worked a 75-minute rescue scenario during the 2015 National Coal Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench, and Preshift Competition.


People on both sides of the energy debate in Kentucky seem to agree that costs for the consumer are going to go up.  Clean energy and federal emissions standards were widely discussed this week at the 39th Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment.

Kentucky is receiving more than $264,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund 23 applications for improvements in energy efficiency.



Speculation has begun in Eastern Kentucky about a potentially large reserve of oil and natural gas trapped about two miles underground. If the Rogersville Shale is proven productive, it would be the region’s first major oil and gas play. This has excited the industry, but some residents are worried about the toll large-scale oil and gas production would take on human health and the environment.

Public Forum Aims to Answer Questions on Pipeline Proposal

Dec 30, 2014

In light of recent events surrounding the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, an official in one central Kentucky county is hoping a community meeting on pipeline use will be informative and not confrontational.  Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and MarkWest are proposing to convert a pipeline that runs through Boyle County, from carrying oil and natural gas to natural gas liquids.  It's part of a 1000-mile conversion project being considered by federal regulators. 

Kentucky Awarded Millions from National Science Foundation

Aug 27, 2014
Stu Johnson / Weku News

A statewide effort to further the economy through funding energy research and attracting more students into STEM fields is getting a major financial boost.

Kentucky is one of six jurisdictions chosen to receive a five year research award from the National Science Foundation.

Erica Peterson

Kentucky has long been known for coal. But a new project unveiled Monday has the potential to let the commonwealth also be known for coal technology.

    The Kentucky Coal Association is questioning how recently announced EPA rules on emissions will impact climate change worldwide.  Association President Bill Bissett says shuttering all U.S. coal fired electrical plants would only impact three percent of carbon on the planet.  He says countries like India, China, Spain, Germany, and Russia continue to move forward with coal fired power plant production.  "We're not really gonna have an impact on climate change, like the president is wanting, because everyone else is moving toward coal," said Bissett.

Bill Seeks More Review for Windmill Proposals

Feb 13, 2014

A bill approved Thursday provides for more regulatory review for anyone seeking to start generating power by windmill.  

KU Seeking Approval for Solar Plant

Jan 31, 2014

Kentucky Utilities is asking for state approval to build a 36 million dollar solar power plant in central Kentucky.  If K-U’S request is granted by the State Public Service Commission, the facility would be built adjacent to the coal-fired complex already in place at the Burgin plant.  

Keeping Power Plants in Line with Federal Emission Regs

Nov 16, 2013

Kentucky lawmakers have been briefed on ongoing technological developments to make the state's coal-fired power-plants more in line with new federal emissions standards.  But , the effort may be more about keeping coal a viable source of energy for the state than it is about fixing the environment.

Penn State News

The US Coast Guard is seeking public comments on a proposal that would allow barges to transport shale gas wastewater. The wastewater is a byproduct of the drilling process, and it can include both man-made chemicals and naturally occurring heavy metals and radiation. The wastewater is currently stored at drilling sites or transported by truck or train to treatment plants and deep underground wells.

Natural Gas Prices Going Up in November

Oct 31, 2013

As the days begin to get colder, Kentucky will see higher natural gas prices.  On average, customers who use about ten thousand cubic feet of natural gas, can expect to pay about 19 percent more than last November.  Still, State Public Service Commission Spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says it’s far less than a few years ago.

Lexingtonians Saving Energy

Oct 10, 2013

Even as its population grows, energy consumption in Lexington is on the decline.  The group `Empower Lexington’ is working for a one percent drop each year in energy consumption.  Amy Sohner, who directs Bluegrass Greensource, says so far, it’s been relatively easy.

Getting the Lights on Sooner

Sep 16, 2013

Kentucky’s largest electric utility is investing millions in technology to help speed up power restoration in the event of an electrical outage.  The new technology comes in the form of computers and mobile capabilities being installed in L-G and E and Kentucky Utilities field trucks.

Lynch / Benham and Lynch Collection, Southeast Community and Technical College Appalachian

Coal production in both of Kentucky’s coalfields has dropped slightly and employment is at a record low, according to the most recent quarterly report from the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet. The commonwealth produced nearly 20.5 million tons of coal in the second quarter of 2013, which represents a 1.3 percent drop from the first quarter of the year.  Read More...

Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

Environmental activists are suing the federal government over the exports of Appalachian coal, saying it approved a $90 million loan guarantee to one company without considering the implications for air and water pollution. The first-of-its-kind lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco says communities near mines, ports and railways that connect them are all affected.

Miners Vow to Fight Patriot, Peabody, Arch

Jun 5, 2013
Mike Lawrence / The Gleaner

Fiery speeches followed by the peaceful, staged arrests of 15 union supporters highlighted a 90-minute rally in Henderson Tuesday morning by the United Mine Workers of America. Retired coal miners from at least seven states, many of whom arrived in a fleet of approximately 30 charter buses, filled the front lawn of the Henderson County Courthouse to protest the move by bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp. to reduce pension and health care benefits. UMWA spokesman Phil Smith estimated the crowd at about 4,000 people. Read more...

Survey Work Begins on Natural Gas Pipeline across Kentucky

Jun 3, 2013
Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners.

A proposed natural gas pipeline could cross through up to 18 Kentucky counties. The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from drilling operations in Pennsylvania to processing plants on the Gulf Coast. These natural gas liquids—or NGLs—that could travel through the pipe are a byproduct of natural gas drilling, and consist mainly of ethane, propane and butane. They’re common ingredients in products like car bumpers, adhesives and camera lenses. Read more...

Judge Rules Patriot Coal Can Scrap Union Contracts

May 31, 2013
Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

judge has ruled that Patriot Coal can cut health care and pension benefits that were promised to coal miners through collective bargaining agreements with the union. Last summer, Patriot Coal filed for bankruptcy. The company is a spinoff that included some Peabody Energy andArch Coal operations in Appalachia, and Patriot said it couldn’t handle the estimated $1.6 billion liability for retiree health care costs it inherited from the other companies. Read more...

Meeting on Big Sandy closure packs house

May 20, 2013

Closing the Big Sandy Power plant in Lawrence County would be devastating for area. That's what speaker after speaker said during a Kentucky Public Service Commission public meeting last week at the Lawrence County Community Center. Lawrence Countian Gary Allen asked some provoking questions but did not get answers. But the main question seems to be would you rather pay more for your electricity in order to keep the Big Sandy plant burning coal, or would you rather have cheaper electricity that meets environmental code?  Read more..

Opponent to power rate increases organize Coalition

May 17, 2013
Doug Wilson / Environmental Protection Agency

A coalition of western Kentucky businesses and residents has formed in hopes of minimizing the fallout of an electricity rates deal between Big Rivers Electric Co-Op and western Kentucky aluminum smelters.  The coalition is worried the deal will lead to higher utility bills for residents and businesses. 

KU warns Customers of Phone Bill Scam

May 15, 2013

Kentucky Utilities Co. is alerting customers of a recent telephone scam asking customers to pay their bills over the phone. The caller claims to be a KU employee and asks for immediate bill payment by credit card or prepaid money card. If the targeted customer does not cooperate, the caller threatens to disconnect the person’s electric service. KU said it will never call and ask for credit or debit card numbers or other personal information. KU has more than a half-million customers across Kentucky. Read more...

Shutdown of Coal-fired Power Plant Considered

May 14, 2013

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold a meeting today and teleconferences Wednesday to take public comments on the proposal by Kentucky Power Co. to purchase replacement electric-generating capacity in order to retire the Big Sandy generating facility near Louisa. Both the meeting and the teleconference will begin with a presentation by PSC staff on the regulatory processes governing the case and an overview of the Kentucky Power proposal.

Natural Gas Price Hikes in Pikeville

Apr 30, 2013

Natural gas rates are going up for 34-hundred customers in Floyd, Magoffin and Pike counties.  The state Public Service Commission today okayed an immediate rate hike requested by Kentucky Frontier Gas.  Kentucky Frontier Gas runs ten, small natural gas distribution systems.  The increase is designed to create consistent pricing for natural gas throughout the system.  

Analyst Explains the U.S. Annual Energy Outlook

Apr 1, 2013
EIA Annual Energy Outlook

America’s energy mix in 2040 won’t be drastically different from what it is today: a little less coal and oil, a little more natural gas and renewable energy. That’s according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook. Paul Holtberg—the leader of the EIA’s Analysis Integration Team—was in Louisville last week to give a presentation to the local chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics. Here are a few of the key takeaways from Holtberg’s presentation, and from the early release of the EIA’s annual report: