About one-fourth of all U.S. coal mines are located in Kentucky. Coal typically accounts for about nine-tenths of Kentucky's electricity generation. However, in 2015 alone 10% of Kentucky's coal-fired electricity generating capacity was shut down. From 2013-2015, electricity production from natural gas increased about 319%. If this trend continues, natural gas could soon replace coal as Kentucky's primary electricity source.
About 4% of Kentucky's electricity comes from the state's 7 hydroelectric dams. Researchers from The Oak Ridge National Laboratory found in 2012 that Kentucky could quadruple its hydropower production if it converted all of its dams into power plants. Biomass is Kentucky's second largest renewable energy source. Fuel for biomass plants comes from byproducts of wood industries as well as harvesting operations.
Kentucky Electricity Prices
Kentucky has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Kentucky residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Kentucky residents in December 2016 was 10.36¢ per kWh, which is 1.85¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Kentucky, though, having increased more than 46% over the past 10 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Kentucky residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Kentucky Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2010-2015, natural gas went from about 2% to 7% of Kentucky's total electricity production. Over the same period, electricity production from coal fell about 20%.
Kentucky Energy Sector Employment
Traditionally, coal mining has been a huge source of jobs for Kentucky residents. However, coal production and employment are declining rapidly due to decreasing prices of natural gas, wind turbines, and solar panels. According to the 2016 Kentucky Solar Jobs Census, there are about 1,200 solar workers in Kentucky. The Kentucky solar industry grew 20% from 2015-2016, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Kentucky Utility Companies
Some of the largest electric utilities in Kentucky are Louisville Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E)
- Subsidiary of PPL Corporation
- Serves approximately 407,000 electric customers in Kentucky
- Headquartered in Louisville, KY
Kentucky Utilities (KU)
- Subsidiary of PPL Corporation
- Serves approximately 549,000 customers in Kentucky and Virginia
- Headquartered in Lexington, KY
Tennessee Valley Authority
- Supplies electricity to 10 municipal and 5 cooperatively owned utilities
- Headquartered in Knoxville, TN
- Founded in 1933
Arcadia's Kentucky Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Kentucky residents:
As an Kentucky utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Kentucky. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Kentucky utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.