Thoroughbred Generating Station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} Thoroughbred Generating Station is a proposed coal plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. [1]

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, proposed to build two 750 MW pulverized coal-burning plants at their Thoroughbred Campus. The plant was designed to burn Western Kentucky high-sulfur coal from a mine adjacent to the plant. The Sierra Club and Valley Watch challenged the Clean Air Act permit for the plant, resulting in the longest permit appeal in Kentucky history. In 2005, a Division of Air Quality hearing officer upheld the appeal and remanded the permit. [2]

However, this decision was overturned in April 2006 by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary, and the appeal challenging the air permit was denied. On Aug. 6, 2007, the Franklin Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Sierra Club and Valley Watch, citing the plant as a threat to public health.[3]

On Oct. 18, Sierra Club, NRDC, Valley Watch, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation filed a petition with the U.S. EPA, calling for the plant’s permit to be revoked. On January 10, 2008 these groups notified the EPA that it had missed its legal deadline to take action on the petition. Legally the EPA had sixty days to act on the Thoroughbred permit or face a lawsuit.[4]

On July 29, 2008, the Kentucky Court of Appeals heard Peabody's appeal of the August 2007 decision to throw out the Thoroughbred air permit. If Peabody wins, it can use the permit granted six years ago. A decision was expected in about a month.[5] The court approved Peabody's appeal in September 2008, reversing the earlier decision of the Franklin Circuit Court.[6]

In December 2008, Peabody ended its quest to build the Thoroughbred plant. The decision to withdraw its air quality permit application was related to another announcement that Peabody and partner ConocoPhillips were applying to permit a coal-to-gas plant at the same location.[7][8]

Project Details

Sponsor: Peabody Energy
Location: Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Capacity: 1500 MW (two 750 MW units)
Type: Pulverized coal
Projected in service: 2012
Status: Cancelled


Citizen Groups



  1. “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Technology Lab, May 2007, page 13. (Pdf)
  2. “Thoroughbred Power Plant Blocked”, Sierra Club news, June 2005.
  3. "Victory in Kentucky: No Giant Plant for Peabody in Muhlenberg County", Media Island International, August 9, 2007.
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  5. "Court Hears Case on Coal Plant Near Mammoth", Lexington Herald-Leader, July 30, 2008.
  6. Commonwealth of Kentucky Environmental & Public Protection Cabinet v. Sierra Club, Kentucky Court of Appeals, September 27, 2008.
  7. "Peabody Energy formally ends Thoroughbred plant effort," Louisville Courier-Journal, December 17, 2008.
  8. Peabody Energy, "ConocoPhillips and Peabody Energy Select Site in Muhlenberg County, Ky., to Develop Coal-to-Gas Facility", Media Release, December 16, 2008.

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