The board voted 5 to 2 in favor of retiring the older plants.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federally owned utility that operates in Tennessee and Kentucky, voted 5 to 2 to close two coal-fired power-generating units by 2023, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The decision includes closing the last coal-fired unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant by 2020, as well as closing the coal-fired Bull Run Steam Plant by 2023. On Thursday morning, the TVA tweeted: “The TVA Board votes to retire Paradise Unit 3 and Bull Run within the next few years. Their decision was made after extensive reviews and public comments and will ensure continued reliable power at the lowest cost feasible. We will work with impacted employees and communities.”
The TVA announced back in August that it would review the viability of the two generators. According to the Times Free Press, the TVA’s Chief Financial Officer John Thomas estimated that “the retirement of the two plants will save TVA $320 million, because the plants are the least efficient of TVA’s coal plants and are not needed to meet TVA’s power needs.”
The paper said that 40 percent of the employees impacted by the closures are eligible for retirement and those who want to stay “could be offered jobs elsewhere in the utility.”
The decision on Thursday was predicated by a tweet made by President Trump on February 11 saying “Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and @TVAnews should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!”
According to The Hill, the Paradise coal plant’s “top coal supplier is a mine owned by a subsidiary Murray Energy Corp., the nation’s largest privately held coal-mining company. That company’s leader is Bob Murray, an outspoken Trump donor and supporter.”
TVA still has 25 coal generators that it plans to operate out to 2028, although that’s a dramatic decrease from the 59 generators it operated at coal’s height in the 1980s.