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PSC approves Kentucky power purchase of biomass energy

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Utility company Kentucky Power Co. is to acquire biomass-based power from a renewable production plant near Hazard after the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Under the recently approved agreement, Kentucky will buy renewable electricity from the 58.8MW ecoPower Generation-Hazard biomass plant, construction on which will take about two years.

The renewable plant, which has already received necessary permits and approvals from other state agencies including the Siting Board, will burn various wood wastes and low-quality timber.

In a statement, Kentucky Power said the generating capacity provided by ecoPower is needed to both replace capacity that will be lost because of reductions in power production at the company's Big Sandy facility in Lawrence County and to help meet its future need for power.

The utility company also said the ecoPower contract will encourage economic development in its service territory and diversify its generation portfolio, which now relies largely on coal.