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article imageTrump pressures TVA to keep old coal power plant running

By Karen Graham     Feb 12, 2019 in Environment
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday night pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to keep its Paradise coal plant in Kentucky open. The plant and another one in Tennessee are on the chopping block.
Trump tweeted that TVA should "give serious consideration to all factors" before closing unit 3 of the Paradise plant, a sentiment echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a tweet minutes later.
While Trump continues to be coal's biggest fan, he probably doesn't know all the factors that have been taken into account when the TVA made its decision to close the Paradise 3 coal plant in Kentucky or the Bull Run coal plant in Tennessee.
The Paradise plant is located just east of Drakesboro, Kentucky and it is the largest megawatt capacity power plant in Kentucky. But the 49-year-old plant is old and unreliable. Plus, according to the TVA, it has become too expensive to repair to keep it operating.
Bull Run Fossil Plant taken from viewing area to the North of the plant in 2010.
Bull Run Fossil Plant taken from viewing area to the North of the plant in 2010.
In an environmental assessment released on Monday, shutting down the Paradise plant would not only keep customers from having to pay for the aging plant's frequent repairs, but it will also reduce emissions that cause lung-damaging smog by as much as 11.5 percent across the region, while greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 4.0 percent.
Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin is also on the Trump bandwagon, urging other lawmakers to keep fighting to keep the coal burners turned on. Bevin also hinted that federal regulators are about to conduct a new study on power plants and national security - but it could be he was talking about an assessment the Department of Energy did last year.
The American Council on Renewable Energy responded to the study and published the DoD's report.
The report's conclusion:
With no vulnerable fuel supply lines, free and inexhaustible fuel, greater decentralization and the potential for rapid deployment, renewable power enhances the security of the bulk power grid. Any serious discussion of U.S. grid resilience and national energy security should consider the immense benefits of a more decentralized grid that is not reliant on global fuel markets, and the advantages of modern technologies that allow for isolated microgrids to support critical facilities. With costs decreasing by the day, renewable energy plays an important and increasing role in promoting the security of the nation’s electrical grid and supporting the Armed Forces.
Bevin and a number of lawmakers held a pro-coal rally over the past weekend, trying to pressure the TVA board into keeping the plant open.
"We sit on hundreds of years of supply of the most reliable, most stable, most affordable source of electricity production that the world has ever known," Bevin said. "There is no capacity now if we shut this facility and others like it to provide what America needs."
The TVA did respond to the call to keep the plants open. "[Paradise] Unit 3 was designed to produce 1,000 megawatts of steady power generation," TVA wrote in its environmental assessment of the plant. "With increased volatility in energy consumption and increased nuclear generation that provides lower cost, steady generation, [Paradise] Unit 3 is challenged to adjust in order to respond to these changes in consumption."
Retiring the Paradise unit and Bull Run plant in the early 2020s will "facilitate TVA's statutory mission to provide reliable power at the lowest system cost," the utility added in its two similar environmental assessments.
More about Tva, Trump, coal plants, old and unreliable, Expensive
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