The Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) Paddy’s Run Power Plant is a defunct power generating facility in southwestern Louisville, Kentucky, located at the confluence of Paddy’s Run stream and the Ohio River. Planning for the coal-fired power plant in the Rubbertown district of the city began in the 1930s, when the majority of the 140 antiquated steam power plants that dotted the city only decades prior were being phased out.1
In 1939, the LG&E board of directors ordered two 25,000 KW steam-powered electrical generators for the new plant.1 Just two weeks after the order was placed, however, the federal government banned all utilities from expanding with new construction, anticipating that a major war was imminent. Paddy’s Run was one of the few contracts that was allowed to proceed, and construction of the facility was completed in 1942.
The additional capacity allowed LG&E to be designated a national defense utility, and spurred further industrial development at Rubbertown.1 A large chemical industry developed in the vicinity of the power plant, manufacturing neoprene, butadiene and other synthetic chemicals that was used in the war effort.
Paddy’s Run was supplemented by the Cane Run Station three miles downtstream along the Ohio River, which was completed in 1952.1
By the 1970s, the Paddy’s Run power station had become antiquated, and was used primarily to meet summer peak requirements.2 In April 1973, in an effort to curb pollutants in what was billed as a pilot project and among the first of its type in the United States, LG&E installed a carbide lime flue gas desulfurization (FGD) on boiler number 6, which was being operated infrequently because of its low thermal efficiency. Another FGD was installed later on another boiler, and a third unit featured a dual-alkali process.3 The FGD system utilized carbide lime, a waste by-product from a nearby acetylene industrial plant. Based on the process of the FGD demonstration, the scrubbing system was installed at other LG&E power plants.
The LG&E Paddy’s Run Power Plant was closed in 1982.4