Governor's Office for Local Development

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, December 05, 2007  
Contact Information:  Lanny Brannock
Public Information Officer

Funds will aid East Kentucky Power construction costs

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced a $3 million grant to the City of Burnside to fund construction costs of a cooling tower at the East Kentucky Power Cooperative Cooper Station power plant. The funding, provided through Executive Order 2007-298, comes as a response to needs caused by the lowering of Lake Cumberland for repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.

“From the time the Army Corps of Engineers announced the lowering of Lake Cumberland, we have made it a priority to ensure that Kentuckians who depend on power generated by the Cooper Station power plant for their electricity have uninterrupted service while Wolf Creek Dam is being repaired,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are working diligently to address the needs of the businesses and residents of southern Kentucky who are affected by the draw down of Lake Cumberland during these repairs.”

The $3 million grant is part of a $15.18 million project to make the Cooper Station operational should Lake Cumberland be drawn down further while repairs continue to Wolf Creek Dam. The United States Army Corps of Engineers warned all utilities that rely on the lake to be prepared to draw water for use at a depth of 650 feet above sea level by the end of 2007.

The construction of the cooling tower is required to address current operational risks to Cooper Station as a result of the lowering of Lake Cumberland. The current level of 680 feet is very close to the minimum level for water intake at Cooper Station. The facility therefore must be constructed on an emergency basis.

The Cooper station has two units that produce 341 megawatts of power-enough electricity to power the homes in 31 cities the size of Somerset. One megawatt powers 10,000 100-watt bulbs.

“One of the most important responsibilities of the Governor’s office is to provide basic services and ensure the health and safety of our citizens. It’s vital the Cooper Station continues to operate uninterrupted and provides power for southeast Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher. “By providing this grant, it will ease the burden of the cost increase for electricity to our citizens.”

On April 12, 2007, Governor Fletcher signed Executive Order 2007-298 authorizing the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD), in coordination with the Office of the State Budget Director, to fund projects to ensure the continued public health and safety of counties in the Cumberland River basin. GOLD is the agency responsible for administering the funding for these projects.