The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of the USA has released final environmental assessments that conclude that it should shut down both the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Oak Ridge and Unit 3 at the Paradise coal plant in Kentucky by 2023. President Trump has opposed the plant closures.
The TVA assessment said that 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 will meet on 14 February to decide the future of the two plants. TVA has already shut down 32 of the 59 coal-fired units it once operated.
President Trump has voiced concerns about TVA making cuts in its coal-fired generation. He tweeted: “Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and TVA should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky.”
Jim Hopson, spokesman for TVA, said: “Coal is an important part of TVA’s power generation mix, and we will give serious consideration to all factors as we make this decision.” The TVA assessment concluded that the Paradise and Bull Run plants “do not fit current and likely future portfolio needs”, because natural gas remains relatively cheap, energy efficient appliances are reducing demand, and more customers are generating their own power with solar panels or windmills. In addition, TVA has 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. The TVA final environmental assessment concludes: “Paradise Unit 3 does not provide the level of flexibility needed to balance hourly, daily, and seasonal changes in energy consumption. In addition, cycling the unit off and on results in more wear and tear and higher operation and maintenance costs.”