Richmond, Kentucky has been heavily reliant on non-renewable energy sources for many years, with coal being the primary source of energy. However, in recent years, other sources of energy have become more prominent. Hydroelectric energy is the only renewable resource currently being used in the city, but it only accounts for a small portion of the total energy mix. In the past decade, there has been a shift away from coal and towards other sources of energy.
Wind and solar energy have seen a dramatic increase in usage in many other states, such as Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. Unfortunately, Kentucky has not seen the same level of growth in these renewable sources due to Governor Andy Beshear's decision not to veto a bill passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly that was aimed at preventing the shutdown of uneconomical coal-fired power plants. Coal is one of the main contributors to climate change and has been in decline for decades. It has become increasingly difficult for coal to compete with other sources of electricity due to their lower prices.
Despite this, loyalty to coal has remained strong in Kentucky. This is beginning to change, however, as LG&E and KU Energy recently announced a plan to close three old coal-fired units and build two gas units and a commercial-scale solar plant. The plan has been met with both criticism and praise from different groups. Although Kentucky ranked last in the country for wind and solar power generation last year, it ranked 37th in all renewable sources of electricity due to its hydroelectric dams. These dams were built decades ago and are still providing a reliable source of energy for the city. The current situation in Richmond, Kentucky regarding non-renewable energy sources is one that is changing rapidly.
Coal is no longer the primary source of energy for the city and other renewable sources are beginning to take its place. While hydroelectric dams are still providing a reliable source of energy for the city, wind and solar energy are beginning to make their presence felt as well. It remains to be seen how this shift will affect the city in the long run.