Coal, Emissions, News, O&M

TVA flips breaker to disconnect 50-year-old coal-fired Paradise Unit 3

Paradise power plant

The Future of Coal-fired Generation is still very much a part of the power generation sector and will be part of the content at POWERGEN 2020 in Orlando this December. The POWERGEN call for abstracts is now open and ready for your project! Click here to submit.

— — — — —

Another piece of coal—fired history was eliminated from the grid this weekend in Kentucky.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s last coal-fired unit at Paradise Fossil Plant was shut down after 50 years of operation. TVA retiree Jim Chappell, who was electrical control wind operator when Unit 3 was originally placed into service, opened the breaker to separate Paradise Unit 3 from the system on Saturday.

Paradise Unit 3, located in Muhlenberg County near the Green River, began operation in 1970 with a net generating capacity of 1,080 MW. It generated enough electricity to supply more than 800,000 average homes.

TVA’s Board of Directors voted in 2019 to retire the unit. The other two coal-fired units at Paradise were retired in 2017.

That generation was replaced with a combined-cycle natural gas plant with a baseload capacity of 1,025 MW, which began operation next to the fossil plant site in 2017. The gas plant will continue operating.

 Over its five decades of service, the Paradise Fossil Plant broke several records for run times, and Unit 3 was at the forefront of environmental stewardship with the installation of the largest air emissions scrubber in the world.

“There’s a sense of pride and passion at the site that I’ve never seen before,” said Steve Holland, Paradise Fossil plant manager. “During its last run, everyone was supportive, volunteering to come in on their days off or work overtime. The team took ownership of the plant. That’s what makes TVA great – ownership and pride.”

As Paradise Fossil Plant closes its doors, it does so after years of reliability and superior safety performance.

“The Paradise team finished strong,” said Kris Edmonson, TVA’s vice president of Power Operations, Coal. “I commend the team for their commitment to TVA, the plant and each other. It’s difficult to stay in the game when you have closure looming over your head, but this team persevered as well as many others that have worked at Paradise Fossil Plant leave a strong legacy.”

Paradise Units 1 and 2 went online in 1963. Each had a generating capacity of 704 MW and were considered the largest operating units in the world, according to the TVA.

TVA has been working with the approximately 110 employees at Paradise Unit 3 to find other positions within the fleet or to retire. Some will remain at the site over the next two years as a transition team.

As with other locations with retired plants, TVA will work with the local community to determine any potential future uses for the former fossil site. In addition, environmental reviews are underway across the TVA system and at Paradise to determine the feasibility of locating new generation at this location as well as others around the Valley.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected]).

— — — — —

The Future of Coal-fired Generation is still very much a part of the power generation sector and will be part of the content at POWERGEN 2020 in Orlando this December. The POWERGEN call for abstracts is now open and ready for your project! Click here to submit.