Big Rivers Electric Corporation

From Global Energy Monitor

Big Rivers Electric Corporation is an electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Henderson, Kentucky and owned by three member system distribution cooperatives: Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, headquartered in Paducah; Kenergy Corp., headquartered in Henderson; and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, headquartered in Brandenburg.[1]

"Big Rivers supplies the wholesale power needs of the member cooperatives and markets surplus power to non-member utilities and power markets. The member cooperatives provide retail electric power and energy to more than 111,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in portions of 22 western Kentucky counties."[1]

Existing Coal Plants

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Robert Reid Power Plant KY 1966 96 MW
Kenneth C. Coleman Station KY 1969, 1970, 1971 521 MW
R.D. Green Station KY 1979, 1981 528 MW
Wilson Station KY 1984 440 MW
Henderson Station KY 1973, 1974 365 MW

Total power capacity is 1,854 MW, including rights to Station II of Henderson Station, while Henderson City Utility Commission owns right to Henderson Station I (KY). Big Rivers also contracts capacity from Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA).[1]

Pollution controls

To comply with the EPA Transport Rule, Big Rivers had been planning to install scrubbers for sulfur dioxide at its D.B Wilson plant in Centertown, at a cost of about $139 million, and a selective catalytic reduction to curb nitrogen oxides at its Robert D. Green plant in Robards, at a cost of about $81 million. One day after a federal appeals court struck down the rule in August 2012, Big Rivers said it was scrapping the pollution control plans to save its customers about $225 million. The announcement came as Big Rivers was responding to the threatened closure of one of its biggest customers, the Century Aluminum plant in Hawesville, which consumes about 30 percent of the utility’s power generation.[2]

Control of Plants

In July 2009 Big Rivers ended the lease agreements under which E.ON U.S. had been operating the power plants owned by Big Rivers Electric Corp. The leases originally were signed in 1998 and were to run through 2023, but both companies have been working for a number of years to "unwind" the arrangement. In addition to returning operation of the plants to Big Rivers, another element related to the transaction includes new long-term power contracts with the Century and Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelters, which employ some 1,200 people.[3]

"About 470 employees of E.ON subsidiary Western Kentucky Energy Corporation (WKE), who had been operating the power plants under the previous lease agreement, will become employees of Big Rivers with the closing of the transaction. Many had worked for Big Rivers previously before WKE took over operation of the plants in 1998."[3]

Contact Information

Big Rivers Electric Corporation
201 Third Street
Henderson, KY 42420
Phone: (270) 827-2561

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "About Big Rivers" Big Rivers Website, September 2009.
  2. James Bruggers, "Western Kentucky utility withdraws pollution-control plan after appeals court strikes down EPA limits," The Courier-Journal, August 22, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Big Rivers Electric Cooperative, "Unwind of Lease Agreements Completed Between BIg Rivers, E.ON U.S.", Media Release, Big Rivers Website, July 16, 2009.

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