February 12, 2019 Read More →

TVA assessment recommends closing Paradise, Bull Run coal plants

Times Free Press:

The Tennessee Valley Authority is proposing to close two more of its coal-fired power plants due to stagnant or declining power demand in its 7-state region.

Despite opposition to the plant closings from President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday night, TVA’s final environmental assessments released Monday concluded that TVA should shut down both the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Oak Ridge and the Unit 3 generator at the Paradise coal plant in Kentucky by 2023.

The assessments prepared by TVA’s staff over the past year said Paradise and Bull Run are among the coal-fired units with “relatively high projected future maintenance costs and environmental compliance expenditures, a high forced outage rate and poor generation fit” for TVA’s future power demands.

The TVA board, which meets Thursday in Chattanooga, is scheduled to discuss the future of the two aging coal plants and could vote to phase out the fossil units over the next four years. TVA has already shut down 32 of the 59 coal-fired units it once operated and has been considering since last August shutting down Bull Run by 2023 and shuttering the final coal unit at Paradise by 2020.

The potential of shutting down more of TVA’s coal generation provoked responses Monday night from both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who represents the state where Paradise has operated for the past half century.

“Time and again, the people of Kentucky have loudly spoken in support of coal,” McConnell said in a video statement to the TVA board. “I’m proud to join them in opposing the closing of Paradise Unit 3.”

But the assessment done by TVA staff concluded that the Paradise and Bull Run plants “do not fit current and likely future portfolio needs” since natural gas remains relatively cheap, energy efficient appliances and furnaces are reducing electricity demand and more customers are generating their own power with solar panels or windmills. TVA also added a second unit to its Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Tennessee two years ago and is expanding its generating capacity at its oldest nuclear plant, the three-reactor Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama. Paradise Unit 3 “does not provide the level of flexibility needed to balance hourly, daily and seasonal changes in energy consumption,” the TVA final environmental assessment concludes. “In addition, cycling the unit off and on results in more wear and tear and higher operation and maintenance costs.”

More: TVA proposes to shut down Bull Run, Paradise coal plants despite opposition from Trump, Senate majority leader


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