Home » LG&E and KU retires Cane Run generating unit

LG&E and KU retires Cane Run generating unit

First of three units being retired

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 31, 2015) — Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company’s Cane Run Unit 6 was retired today. The move comes as the company prepares to shut down its coal-fired operations at the site and bring the new Cane Run 7 gas-fired unit on line.

Cane Run employees inspecting a turbine. (LG&E and KU photo)
Cane Run employees inspecting a turbine. (LG&E and KU photo)

A key component in LG&E and KU’s generation fleet, Cane Run Unit 6 was put into service in 1969 to help meet increasing electricity demand after industries flocked to Louisville during and after World War II, making Louisville the nation’s second-most-industrialized city. Cranking out 272 megawatts of electricity, along with Cane Run’s five other units, Unit 6 brought the plant’s capacity to 25 percent of LG&E’s generation at the time. The unit helped to sustain increasing power needs into the 1970s when the company expanded its operations, as well as into the 1980s when Cane Run Units 1, 2 and 3 began being retired.

Even with the company’s growth, Cane Run 6 dominated the spotlight over the years –garnering the attention of President Jimmy Carter and other dignitaries, in 1979, when they visited to learn about coal-fired generation and see the company’s pioneering sulfur dioxide-removal technology. The unit proved just as significant as ever this year as it was fired up to help meet critical winter energy demands during frigid conditions in February and March.

The retirement of Cane Run Unit 6, as well as Units 4 and 5—which are expected to shut down as soon as the new unit is commercially available—come as the result of stricter environmental mandates on coal-fired generation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As these coal units are shutting down, activity on the company’s new gas-fired facility is heating up. Currently in its final commissioning and testing phases, Cane Run 7, which will be Kentucky’s first natural gas combined cycle facility, is scheduled to become commercially available to serve customers later this spring.