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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If approved by the Coast Guard, shale gas waste water from such storage ponds could be barged down the Ohio River to disposal sites on the Gulf Coast.
Credit 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UMWA International President Cecil Roberts, with his hands bound, is lead to a police van after being placed under arrest with 14 union supporters for staging a peaceful sit-down protest in the middle of intersection at First and Main streets following a 90-minute rally.
Credit 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...
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...
Lawrence County resident Gary Allen asked some provoking questions but did not get answers.
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..
Credit 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.
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...
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. Read more...
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.
The mix of energy sources used in Kentucky is expected to diversify over the next decade. Still, an expert on America’s oil and gas industry argues green energy has its limits. Bernard Weinstein with the Dallas-based Maguire Energy Institute told Lexington Rotarians these energy sources rely too heavily on government subsidies. “I’m in favor of everything, but I think all energy resources need to be put to the market test. My gripe with renewables, if you want to call it that, is that we’ve been subsidizing them for 20 years, and they’re still not able to stand on their own,” said Weinstein.
Lexington has just added an electric car to its fleet. Also receiving electric vehicles are Louisville, several state agencies and the University of Louisville. Lexington administrative officer Tracy Thurman says the Chevy Volt is going to the parks department. “Parks is involved in so many public opportunities to showcase this vehicle and actually have it utilized across Fayette County and to get the exposure for electric vehicles and a greater understanding of how they work and how they could benefit our community,” said Thurman.
Kentucky Utilities will spend $57 million to install updated pollution control equipment and pay civil penalties under the terms of a proposed consent decree. The money will go to installing a sulfuric acid mist emission control system at the company’s Ghent power plant, replace a coal-fired boiler and pay $300,000 in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Thirteen Kentucky organizations will receive grant funding next year under a settlement between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The TVA settlement money is meant to go to environmental mitigation projects in the TVA service area. Greg Guess is the director of Kentucky’s Division of Efficiency and Conservation. He says the energy savings that the grant money will facilitate are significant. A portion of the money will go to Fayette County Public Schools to track energy consumption on a real-time basis.
State regulators on Thursday accepted a settlement that will allow Kentucky Utilities Co. to raise its electric rates. Under the settlement agreement, the average monthly bill for a typical KU residential customer will increase by $5.16 or 5.6 percent, according to the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
In the United States, recent data has shown that coal is losing ground, and is now neck in neck with natural gas in terms of the percentage of electricity generation the country gets from each fuel. Coal use is even diminishing in the southeast, a region that's typically relied on coal-fired power. But that's not indicative of what's happening worldwide, and new research shows coal could even surpass oil as the world's top energy source by 2017.