Less Coal, More Gas: TVA Votes To Shut Even More Coal-Fired Generators

TVA will shut down two coal units at its Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro, Kentucky. Another unit will remain active and TVA will build a gas-powered generator. Image: TVA

TVA will shut down two coal units at its Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro, Kentucky. Another unit will remain active and TVA will build a gas-powered generator. Image: TVA

As expected, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday that’s it’s shutting down several coal-fired power generators, but none are in Tennessee. TVA says it’s making more power than it needs.

Excess capacity isn’t the only reason for the closures. TVA CEO Bill Johnson says many of the agency’s coal plants are more than 50 years old. Not only is it costly to maintain them, but TVA would have to spend even more to bring them in compliance with new clean air rules.

“It’s our industry’s equivalent of the old saying about having too many eggs in one basket. So, we’ve been diversifying and will continue to in order to adapt to these changes around us. And this means our generating fleet has to look different than it has in the past.”

TVA’s board voted Thursday to close six units in Alabama and two in Kentucky, though Johnson didn’t say when the shut down would occur. Meanwhile, the agency continues work at its coal plant in Gallatin, where it’s investing a billion dollars to install pollution scrubbers.

This is the second round of closures for TVA. The agency already agreed to shut down more than a dozen coal-fired units to comply with an environmental lawsuit.

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