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Pathways to Decarbonization in Kentucky

November 21st, 2022 - 2:00 PM EST

University of Kentucky, Whitehall Classroom Bldg., CB 122

Speaker: Aron Patrick, Director of Research and Development, PPL Corporation

Seminar: Organized jointly with regional IEEE organizations

Abstract: Kentucky is making remarkable progress in clean energy. The air in Kentucky is cleaner today than it has been since emissions monitoring began, and Kentucky has reduced emissions at a faster rate than the nation as a whole. By 2021, Kentucky has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 93% since 1995 and carbon dioxide emissions by 41% since the year 2000. PPL Corporation, the parent company of LG&E and KU, is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and is targeting a 70% reduction from 2010 levels by 2035 and an 80% reduction by 2040. Emissions reductions in Kentucky will continue and accelerate into the future as cleaner energy sources replace retiring coal-fired power plants. Kentucky is adding record amounts of renewable resources today, however, renewable energy is not new to Kentucky—where hydroelectric dams have been operated since the 1920s and a utility-scale solar farm and lithium-ion batteries since 2016. Since the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow, integration of renewable energy on a traditional power grid requires careful planning to maintain low costs and reliability. A new University of Kentucky study has demonstrated that up to 25% renewables can be integrated into the existing generation and transmission system if renewables are diversified to include wind and solar and regionally dispersed at optimal points on the transmission system. New natural gas capacity built today reduces emissions by 60% compared to coal and can be carbon neutral with future advances in carbon capture and green hydrogen technology. Total decarbonization requires an all-of-the above approach to clean energy technology to help deliver a sustainable clean energy transition that supports energy reliability, resilience and economic growth. 

Bio: Aron Patrick is Director of Research and Development for PPL Corporation, a leading U.S. energy company focused on providing electricity and natural gas safely, reliably, affordably and sustainably to 3.5 million customers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. PPL’s high-performing, award-winning utilities, Kentucky Utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric, PPL Electric Utilities and Rhode Island Energy, are addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. Aron is responsible for managing an enterprise-wide R&D strategy and PPL’s partnerships with external research organizations, including national laboratories, and universities. Aron has worked for PPL, and PPL subsidiary LG&E and KU, for more than six years. Before joining LG&E and KU, Aron held leadership roles at the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, including assistant director and program manager in carbon management and renewable energy. In those roles, Aron managed data, modeling, and research in energy policy and future energy technologies. Prior to that, Aron was an intelligence analyst for the federal government, using statistical analysis and modeling to address national security problems. Aron is a Lexington native and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky.

Time: Nov 21, 2022, 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Location: University of Kentucky, Whitehall Classroom Bldg., Room CB 122