The Sierra Club said Sept. 18 that Owensboro Municipal Utilities has said it plans to retire Elmer Smith’s 163-MW Unit 1 as early as 2019.
The club said that OMU’s decision came just hours after local residents gathered at English Park to express concerns about the financial and health costs of Owensboro’s reliance on the aging coal-fired plant, and ask city leaders to transition the plant to a cleaner source of energy.
Rick Fowler, chair of the Owensboro-based Pennyrile Group of Sierra Club’s Cumberland Chapter, said: “We welcome this announcement and look forward to the retirement of Elmer Smith Unit 1. We also look forward to the announcement that Unit 2 will be retired and replaced with clean, affordable, renewable energy.”
The 51-year-old Elmer Smith consumes more than 1.3 million tons of coal each year, the club said. Owensboro is located in Daviess County, Kentucky. Elmer Smith plant is a coal-burning facility consisting of two units with a combined capacity of 425 MW. OMU is the largest municipal electric and water system in Kentucky with more than 26,000 electric, 24,000 water and 160 telecommunications customers.
No announcement about this was posted to the OMU website as of late on Sept. 18.