The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors on Feb. 14 approved the retirement of Paradise Unit 3 by 2020 and the Bull Run Fossil Plant by 2023, in order to better balance its generation system with changing demands. The vote reflects TVA’s commitment to replace less-efficient coal-fired plants with cleaner resources, despite President Donald Trump’s plea urging the U.S.-owned power provider to keep the Kentucky-based Paradise unit open.
Based on a review of fuel, transportation, economic, and environmental impacts, the board found that the plants were not designed to efficiently respond to today’s fluctuating electricity needs. The move aims to ensure continued reliability while keeping rates as low as possible. The board also approved new renewable projects that will provide the agency and local power companies with the flexibility needed in the current dynamic environment. TVA said it has taken efforts to add about 675 megawatts solar power over the last six months. The agency’s draft 20-year resource plan expects a growing transition toward solar energy balanced with other generation resources.
TVA has invested about $1 billion to build a gas-fired plant to replace Paradise units 1 and 2 that were retired in 2017. The two units had a capacity of about 700 megawatts. Paradise unit 3 came online in 1970 with a capacity of 1,150 megawatts. Bull Run, located in Tennessee, has a summer capability of 881 megawatts.