Sierra Club: Kentucky municipal to retire coal-fired unit by around 2019

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.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.