The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has decided to retire the Bull Run coal plant in Anderson County, Tenn., and the remaining coal unit at the Paradise power plant in Muhlenberg County, Ky.
After a detailed review of fuel, transmission, economic and environmental impacts, as well as a review of public input, TVA’s board of directors approved the retirements today. Both are older coal-generating units that were not designed to efficiently respond to today’s continually fluctuating power needs of customers, according to the agency. TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven Southeastern states.
“Making decisions that impact employees and communities is difficult as we fulfill our commitment to keep power rates as low as possible,’” says TVA’s president and CEO, Bill Johnson. “We value the contributions of the employees of Paradise and Bull Run, and we will be working directly with them and local communities to ease the transition as much as possible.”
The board also approved new renewable solutions that will better equip TVA and local power companies with the flexibility to meet changing customer needs.
“Over the past six months, TVA has worked with solar developers to add 674 MW of additional renewable energy to meet customer requests, and this trend is continuing to grow,” continues Johnson. “TVA and local power companies are partnering on research projects that will help us better address the desire for choice in energy while continuing the benefits of reliable, low-cost public power for the valley.”
TVA’s draft integrated resource plan (IRP) points to an even greater movement toward solar energy balanced by other generation sources over the next 20 years. The draft IRP will be released for additional public comment on Friday.
According to the Sierra Club, the vote was “a clear repudiation of President Trump’s inappropriate and unusual tactic” to block the TVA staff’s recommendation to phase out the units over the next several years.
“TVA made the right decision to ignore the political posturing and close these dirty, expensive and unnecessary coal units,” comments Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “The board ignored the political games, followed their statutory mission and were guided by the facts laid out by their own experts. Now they’re paving the way for cleaner, more affordable energy in Tennessee and Kentucky.”