The Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric subsidiaries of PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL) on Jan. 29 petitioned the Kentucky Public Service Commission to approve depreciation rates for the new solar photovoltaic facility they are building at the E.W. Brown Generating Station.
In December 2014, the commission issued an order granting the companies a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the construction of the Brown Solar facility. This is a 10 MW (nameplate rating) project located at the existing E.W. Brown station. In addition to granting the CPCN, the commission’s order established ownership shares of 61% and 39% for KU and LG&E, respectively.
The companies said they expect to begin testing the Brown Solar facility for commissioning purposes in March 2016. The companies added that they need to record depreciation of this asset, beginning with the expected commencement of the commercial operation of this facility in May 2016.
Notable is that KU and LG&E originally had sought approval from the commission to construct both this solar array and a 670-MW, natural gas-fired plant. The latter project was canceled after nine municipalities that purchase wholesale power from KU decided to allow their contracts to expire. Although the loss of the municipal customers made the gas-fired plant unnecessary, KU and LG&E stated that some new capacity would be needed to maintain adequate reserves. The solar plant would meet that need while providing insurance against both potential increases in the cost of fossil fuels and future constraints on CO2, the utilities said at the time.