LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company Thursday filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission for approval of three contracts that could mean one giant step forward for solar energy generation in Kentucky, with construction of the largest solar array in the Bluegrass.
The filing consists of two separate renewable power agreements with two of the utilities’ largest industrial customers — Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., which operates the world’s largest Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown; and Dow Silicones Corp., which operates a facility in Carrollton. The third contract is for the power purchase agreement between LG&E and KU and Rhudes Creek Solar, LLC, a wholly owned entity of ibV Energy Partners, for energy to be generated from a new 100-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility to be built in Hardin County.
“We are pleased to be able to execute these agreements and purchase this renewable energy that, even with its substantial size and intermittent nature, can be confidently and cost-effectively integrated into our existing generation fleet which reliably serves our customers around the clock,” said David Sinclair, LG&E and KU vice president–Energy Supply and Analysis. “As we continue to evolve with our customers’ increased demands for renewable energy, we are partnering with them to create customized solutions, as we’ve done in this case, to help them grow and prosper in the Commonwealth, which in turn creates economic vitality for our communities and residents.”
The proposed contracts are the result of LG&E and KU’s ongoing efforts to enhance renewable offerings for residential, commercial and industrial customers to help meet their various renewable energy goals. Approved by the KPSC in 2019, the utilities’ Green Tariff rolled their Green Energy and Business Solar programs under one tariff and provided a third option — the “Renewable Power Agreement” — for customers interested in purchasing renewable power. To support these initiatives, in early 2019, the utilities issued a request for proposals for up to 200 MW of renewable energy. The Rhudes Creek Solar facility proposed by ibV Energy Partners was selected as the winning bidder.
“This is a truly exciting day for the U.S. solar energy industry. ibV Energy is honored to partner with LG&E and KU on this ground-breaking project, and as proud military veterans, we’re equally thrilled to share our story with the residents of Hardin County and the commonwealth,” said Timothy Kim, president, ibV Energy Partners. “Our group brings nearly three decades of experience in the solar industry. Many things have changed over that course of time, but our commitment to delivering the highest quality power plants, on time and as promised, has never wavered. We look forward to fostering our relationship with LG&E and KU, its corporate partners, as well as the community that Rhudes Creek Solar will call home.”
“We are pleased to enter into an agreement with LG&E and KU to build and provide renewable energy for our largest manufacturing facility in the world,” said Kevin Butt, director of Environmental Sustainability for Toyota Motor North America. “This project will provide positive economic and environmental benefits to a community where we’ve been happy to be doing business for 34 years. Also, it supports Challenge 3 of the global Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 to eliminate all carbon emissions from manufacturing by the middle of the century.”
“Dow continues to work closely with its utilities suppliers in Kentucky and throughout the world to advocate for and support cleaner, lower emission power for our operations. We are pleased that our agreement with KU brings us closer to our global 2025 Sustainability Goal to secure at least 750 MW of clean energy, while benefiting Kentucky residents with increased access to clean energy and a stronger foundation for sustainable economic growth,” said Edward Stones, global director of Dow’s Energy and Climate Change business.
The utilities will supply Toyota with 50% of the facility’s energy output, Dow with 25%, and the remaining 25% will be used to serve the utilities’ electric customers. Due to the variable nature of the renewable energy, to ensure reliability, all customers will continue to be served by LG&E and KU’s other generating resources. The 20-year contracts lock in a flat price per kilowatt hour that is expected to translate into cost savings for customers over the life of the agreements.
The solar facility is expected to be completed and commercially available by 2022.