- Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) directors unanimously voted to shutter the three-unit, 741 megawatt Allen coal plant in Memphis and build a $975 million, 1,000 megawatt, high-efficiency combined-cycle natural gas plant at the same site by 2018.
- The proposed natural gas facility would be the seventh TVA has added since 2007 and would be the third time TVA has replaced a shuttered coal plant with a combined cycle natural gas plant to comply with EPA emissions and pollution regulations.
- TVA was under a consent agreement to either shutter the Allen plant, which was built by Memphis Light, Gas and Water in 1959 and acquired by TVA in 1984, or retrofit it with pollution and emissions controls. The directors considered other sources, including renewables, but concluded they were 80% to 360% more expensive.
TVA said the new plant’s superior flexibility to the coal and nuclear in its energy mix may make the future addition of variable renewables more viable. TVA considered adding as much as 1,400-megawatts of natural gas at the Memphis site.
The TVA directors’ also decided the loss of 100 jobs at the Memphis site was acceptable against the reduction by 60% to 90% of Memphis carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions, especially because the construction project and the new plant will both supply jobs.
TVA continues to consider backing the proposed 3,500-megawatt Clean Line Energy Partners transmission project that would deliver Oklahoma wind-generated electricity to Memphis.