Residents in western Kentucky want to keep the last coal-fired power plant situated at a Tennessee Valley Authority generation station. And they got a little presidential support Monday.
Hundreds rallied over the weekend to try and save the coal-fired unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant, according to several news reports. TVA is studying whether it should close the remaining coal unit.
President Trump jumped into the issue Tuesday…via Twitter, of course. “Coal is an important part of our electricity mix and @TVAnews should give consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!”
Kentucky governor Matt Bevin and other officials say that could come with consequences. One month ago, Bevin wrote and sent a letter to TVA CEO Bill Johnson, saying such a closure would be “devastating” to the state’s economy and the regional and national energy grid reliability.
Bevin’s letter said the effects would be felt by employees who work there, people who live in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties and coal miners.
Paradise Unit 3 could stay open but required upgrades would be expensive. The power plant’s first two coal-fired units were commissioned in 1963—with Unit 3 coming online seven years later—but were decommissioned and switched to natural gas in 2017.
When it announced the potential plan for closing Paradise Unit 3, TVA said that assets with high projected future maintenance and environmental compliance costs, combined with reduced need for baseload resources, had to be considered for retirement.