Energy | Science

Tennessee Valley Authority To Close Several Coal-Fired Plants

NPR | Nov. 14, 2013 1:47 p.m.

Contributed By:

Scott Neuman

An air-monitoring station near the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tenn. Stations such as this one are used to monitor clean-air compliance of TVA coal-fired plants.

An air-monitoring station near the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tenn. Stations such as this one are used to monitor clean-air compliance of TVA coal-fired plants.

Wade Payne, AP

The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public utility, has decided to close six coal-fired power plants in Alabama and replace two others in Kentucky with a single new natural-gas station.

TVA CEO Bill Johnson made the announcement at a Thursday board meeting in Oxford, Miss., citing stricter environmental regulations and flat demand for power.

Peter Mahurin, a board member from Bowling Green, Ky., said of the decision was “a personal nightmare,” but acknowledged that he believes it is “in the best interest of TVA’s customers.”

Right now, coal accounts for 38 percent of TVA’s generating capacity.

The Associated Press reports that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell “met with Johnson last month to seek continued operation of the all three coal-burning units at Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, Ky., but Chief Operating Officer Chip Pardee on Thursday recommended that only the newest and cleanest of the three remain operating.

According to the AP:

“The board also voted to close all five units at the [1,184-megawatt] Colbert plant in northwest Alabama and one of two remaining units at the Widows Creek plant in northeast Alabama.”

KnoxvilleBiz.com says the TVA “has shut down a half-dozen units in the past two years … and expects to generate more power from nuclear plants than coal within the next three years.”

Al.com reported in July that national environmental groups were asking the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new regulations on some TVA plants in Alabama that were “polluting rivers and lakes with toxins found in ash and sludge.”

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