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Energy planning measure emerges from the Kentucky Senate

Henderson GOP Senator Robby Mills Explains SB 349
Stu Johnson
Henderson GOP Senator Robby Mills Explains SB 349

The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation aimed at developing an energy plan for the Commonwealth. Proponents say it’s about electricity reliability.

The measure establishes the Energy Planning and Inventory Commission. Henderson GOP Senator Robby Mills said part of its role would be to study existing electric generation as well as future demands. Mills said utilities couldn’t retire coal-fired plants without a board review.

“In a situation where we need every bit of electricity we can have in the U.S. we can’t afford to shut down a power plant or a power unit that still has life left in it,” said Mills.

Mills doesn’t see the legislation as slowing any efforts for renewable energies. He said the bill takes an ‘all the above’ approach. Speaking against the bill, Louisville Democratic Senator David Yates said implementation would mean an increased cost to ratepayers.

One provision sets out that shuttering of these facilities can’t occur without equal replacement generation. Louisville Democratic Senator Karen Berg said the bill limits choices.

“My constituents want clean energy, clean air, and clean water. And if we don’t begin to deliver that to our children then we’re gonna leave them in a world that is not safe to live in,” said Berg.

Robby Mills said the bill is not meant to give one fuel source a leg up over another. Mills did say the measure offers an independent look about fossil fuels and continued operation of some coal power plants. More than one lawmaker spoke about federal energy policies. Winchester GOP Senator Greg Elkins said the federal government doesn’t understand the needs of the Commonwealth.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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