WESTERN KENTUCKY (11/14/13) — TVA will continue to burn coal at its Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, Ky. However, two coal-burning units at the facility will be retired.
A meeting of the board of directors Thursday, Nov. 14 in Oxford, Miss., concluded with the decision to keep Unit 3's coal-burning operation continuing at the Drakesboro plant.
After installing emission controls on Units 1 and 2 over the past few years, the board approved the construction of a gas-fired plant at Paradise. This will result in an investment of approximately $1 billion at the site. The two coal units will be retired when the gas plant is available.
The plan does not affect the FY 2014 budget, according to a press release issued by TVA Thursday after the meeting. The plan will move the entire TVA system toward a balance of 20 percent coal, 40 percent nuclear, 20 percent gas and 20 percent hyrdro. It also calls for renewable and energy efficiency.
TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said the decisions are based on trends including tougher air emission requirements and a slower economy.
“This will support our focus on cleaner energy and bring additional, necessary balance into our portfolio for managing our current and projected load profile,” Johnson told the board.
“Over the past months, we considered a number of capacity studies, including TVA’s 2011 Integrated Resource Plan and associated financial and environmental analyses. We also looked hard at the effect on rates, our employees and any potential economic impact to local communities.”
The board approved a coal fleet plan that will retire eight coal units at three plant sites with more than 3,000 megawatts of combined generating capacity.
A number of these units were already idled or scheduled for idling and/or retirement based on an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The retirements also affect all five coal units at the Colbert Fossil Plant in Tuscumbia, Ala.; and, one of two operating coal units at Widows Creek Fossil Plant in Stevenson, Ala
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnel released a statement just after the announcement taking the opportunity to denounce the Obama Administration's war on coal.
“It’s unnecessary and tragic that the Obama administration’s actions have forced utilities to discontinue coal operations at any of these units,” McConnell said. “I fought hard to prevent these changes and fortunately one of the units will continue to burn coal, saving hundreds of jobs. I’ll continue to fight wherever the administration’s anti-coal agenda threatens the livelihood of Kentuckians and I’ll fight to get the lost jobs back.”
Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
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