March 24, 2020 Read More →

TVA burns last coal at 1,150MW Paradise plant

Associated Press:

President Donald Trump tried to stop it from happening. The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, did too.

Despite their best efforts to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to save the beleaguered coal industry, including an eleventh-hour pressure campaign, the Tennessee Valley Authority power plant at Paradise burned its last load of coal last month.

The plant’s closure — in a county that once mined more coal than any other in the nation — is emblematic of the industry’s decades long decline due to tougher environmental regulations, a major push toward renewable energy and a rise in the extraction of natural gas. The shuttering of businesses nationwide and a reduced need for energy amid the global coronavirus pandemic threatens to deal coal yet another devastating blow.

When coal-burning plants close, coal mining loses its best customer. Since 2010, 500 coal-burning units, or boilers, at power plants have been shut down and nearly half the nation’s coal mines have closed. No U.S. energy company, big or small, is building a new coal-burning plant.

Electric utilities are telling investors and customers that coal costs too much, mostly because of the money it costs to offset environmental effects, such as the release of carbon dioxide. Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, informed its clients in January that it would no longer invest in companies that get more than 25% of their revenue from burning coal.

When the TVA announced it was shutting down the Paradise plant last year, Trump ally and then-Gov. Matt Bevin held a rally in the county, while Senate Majority Leader McConnell publicly urged the board to keep the unit open in his home state. Seemingly working in their favor was that four of the seven board members had been appointed by Trump. But even that wasn’t enough. The Paradise plant’s last coal-burning unit was closed by the Trump-majority board, because of a TVA staff recommendation that keeping the plant open didn’t make economic sense.

[Dylan Lovan]

More: Iconic plant’s end spells doom for struggling coal industry

Comments are closed.