TVA hosting virtual event focused on coal-fired Kingston retirement & alternatives

TVA's Kingston Coal Plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority will hold a virtual open house next week to discuss and hear comments on its study surrounding eventual closure of the 66-year-old Kingston coal-fired power plant.

The event Thursday will focus on details of the environmental impact statement and alternatives for the future of Kingston. The plant along the Tennessee River was the site of the worst coal ash spill in the country in 2008.

Kingston’s nine units can generate about 1.4 GW of electricity at capacity. The plant entered operations in the 1950s.

“Following the publication of the 2019 (integrated resource plan), the TVA began conducting end-of-life evaluations of our coal fleet to inform long-term planning,” reads an earlier statement by the federal power agency. “TVA’s recent evaluation confirms that the aging coal fleet is among the oldest in the nation and is experiencing deterioration of material condition and performance challenges.

“The performance challenges are projected to increase because of the coal fleet’s advancing age and the difficulty of adapting the fleet’s generation within the changing generation profile; and, in general, because the coal fleet is contributing to environmental, economic, and reliability risks.”

The TVA plan includes three options, all of which centered around the eventual retirement of the Kingston coal-fired plant. One option is to build a combined cycle combustion turbine plant powered by natural gas, while plans to replace Kingstown with solar, energy storage or a simple cycle combustion turbine plant also are under consideration.

All retirement options will also include the demolition of the Kingston plant. 

In 2008, a dike at the Kingston coal ash pond collapsed and is considered by some to have caused the worst coal ash disaster in U.S. history. Some 1.1 million gallons of coal ash slurry spilled out into the Emory River and onto surrounding land, damaging structures.

The TVA spent more than $1 billion on its Kingston coal ash cleanup.

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