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New King Coal

What words appear in all the following news items?

� As East Kentucky Power Co-op finishes building one coal-fired power plant in the state, it has proposed two more.

� Governor Fletcher announced a commitment by a European utility company to build another coal power plant in Kentucky.

� A state energy policy task force is preparing a report that includes a focus on how the state�s coal industry can help keep Kentucky�s electric rates the lowest in the nation.

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Kentucky and coal share a long history. Now technology, economics, and planning are updating that relationship.

Coal has meant a lot to Kentucky, from jobs to low-cost power. All energy sources have drawbacks and coal�s environmental effects are well-documented, from popular folk songs to pollution lawsuits.

But East Kentucky Co-op�s new plants will be the cleanest in the nation. And in the last several years, research has focused on �clean coal technology� to further improve the fuel.

As the state and the world demand more energy, Kentucky will get increasing attention from other countries. E.On, the German-based parent of LG&E, recently revived a plan to build a $1.2 billion power plant in Trimble County.

But resources and technology won�t automatically create dramatic change. You also need a plan.

During the past two months, a state task force has been developing just such an energy plan. The task force met with dozens of representatives, from industry and environmental interests, to universities and government agencies. The hearings focused on Kentucky energy and how it can improve the state. That report is scheduled to be released in time for the annual legislative session beginning this month. Read more on the task force in the Co-op Postcard.

The United States has been called the Saudi Arabia of coal, and Kentucky is among the sources of those huge supplies. Plentiful as coal is, there won�t be just one energy solution. There will be many solutions: conservation, hybrid cars, solar power, biomass�and coal.

Coal has helped Kentucky avoid utility missteps that kept our rates low while nuclear power and deregulation raised rates in other states. The recent news items offer strong evidence that coal will be part of a smart and successful energy future for Kentucky.

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