Kentucky Power Company, an operating unit of American Electric Power, filed an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission for approvals related to a Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement (REPA) for biomass energy resources between Kentucky Power and ecoPower Generation-Hazard LLC.
According to Kentucky Power, the REPA would be for a 20-year period to purchase approximately 58 megawatts of electricity from an ecoPower biomass power generating facility planned to be built in Perry County and to be operational by 2017. The company asked the Comission to render a decision on the application no later than Sept. 9, 2013.
ecoPower plans to build the facility approximately 10 miles northwest of Hazard on 125 acres of a reclaimed coal mine in the Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park, and will produce electricity using biomass materials including sawdust, bark, woodchips, tip wood, and low-quality logs.
The plant is anticipated to add up to 30 full-time positions to the local economy and hundreds of ancillary jobs in the construction, timber, and trucking industries.
Kentucky Power provides electricity to approximately 173,000 customers in all or parts of 20 eastern Kentucky counties. Although the actual rate increase related to the agreement would not be effective or known until the REPA is approved and the plant begins commercial operation, Kentucky Power estimates a rate impact on customers of about 7 percent.
It its application, Kentucky Power states the REPA would allow it an opportunity to satisfy a portion of its customers’ energy needs through a Kentucky-based, renewable-energy facility, which would help the company diversify its fuel use while fostering economic development in Eastern Kentucky. The REPA is also consistent with Strategy Two of Gov. Beshear’s November 2008 “Intelligent Choices for Kentucky’s Future” energy plan.