The Lane Report

Northern Kentucky’s two major electrical energy suppliers, Owen Electric and Duke Energy, continue to be at the forefront of the movement to clean, renewable energy, with a couple of new or expanding programs.

Cooperatives, of which Owen Electric is a member, offer a renewable energy program called Envirowatts. Touchstone represents a nationwide alliance of member-owned electric co-ops that deliver power and energy solutions to more than 700 local electric cooperatives across 46 states.

Customers can choose which envirowatts renewable energy sources they prefer to support: solar, wind, biomass and hydro. The voluntary program lets customers purchase renewable energy in $2.75 portions, with no maximum. Owen describes purchasing Envirowatts is an investment in the future of renewable energy in Kentucky by helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

For example, according to EPA estimates, under current market prices a $2.75 portion of solar generates 1,170 pounds of carbon dioxide offset. That’s equivalent to preventing emissions from the consumption of 59.7 gallons of gasoline or annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1,264 miles/year driven by an average passenger vehicle. Wind, hydro and biomass offset much more.

Northern Kentucky’s electric, gas, water and digital pipelines are ample, sustainable and affordable -oilandgas360

East Bend Station is a 648 megawatt, single turbine plant located near Rabbit Hash in Boone County, Ky.

Owen, which was founded in 1937, provides power to 61,000 homes and businesses in nine counties. It sources most of its power from landfill gas plants, and it is involved in the solar energy market with East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC).

Duke Energy, meanwhile, aims to reduce carbon emission by at least 50% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050, a plan that it says requires investments in research and technology.

The company’s 2017 goal to reduce carbon by 40% by 2030 was one of the industry’s most ambitious at the time. Since then, sustained low natural gas prices and declining costs for renewables and storage have allowed Duke to accelerate that goal.

“We are making a cleaner energy future a reality for our customers and communities,” said Lynn Good, Duke chairman, president and CEO. “A diverse mix of renewables, nuclear, natural gas, hydro and energy efficiency are all part of this vision.”

Natural gas very plentiful

Also on the energy front, most Northern Kentucky residents continue to get good news when it comes to natural gas prices. Those prices have been stable or have descended over the past 10 years, and it doesn’t look like anything will change in the near future.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of fluctuation in the natural gas market. If anything, there’s been a slow downward trend,” said Andrew Melnykovych, public information officer for the Kentucky Public Service Commission. “There hasn’t been a dramatic fluctuation since we saw the beginning of much higher production in the domestic market due to new drilling techniques. There is more than an ample supply, which, if you look at all the forecasts, should keep natural gas prices both stable and fairly low.”

However, electric customers won’t get off quite so easily. Duke, which serves approximately 140,000 customers in Northern Kentucky, filed a request in September for the Kentucky PSC to conduct a public review of the company’s rates “due to investments leading to safer, more reliable and secure energy for customers and communities.” The case is pending.

Duke has asked the commission for permission to increase base rates by about $45.6 million, or an average of about 12.5%. If the proposal is approved, a residential customer who uses an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month would pay about $112.08, an increase of $15.62.

“We’re making strategic, data-driven investments to improve reliability and protect our system against cyber and physical threats,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky. “Our work is paying off for customers by reducing the frequency and length of outages, and delivering more choices and control when it comes to their energy use.”

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Oil and Gas Publishers Note: This does sound great on offering different options to consumers to select the type of energy generation, and the cost associated with the electricity.  Looking at their numbers of CO2 savings and cost numbers, it would be good to review how their calculations were made. 

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