TVA to Replace Iconic Kingston Coal Plant With 1.5-GW Modern Complex

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has moved to retire its iconic 1.3-GW Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee in 2027 and replace it—with notable urgency—with a 1.5-GW modern complex featuring a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, aero-derivative turbines, 100 MW of battery storage, and up to 4 MW of solar generation.

The nation’s largest public power company said its “difficult” decision unveiled on April 2 to retire the nine-unit coal facility in Roane County follows a multi-year public process. In a record of decision (ROD), TVA said the “need for [Kingston] to operate at full capacity has decreased” given the evolution of its generating fleet over the past 10 to 15 years—primarily driven by additions of nuclear, gas, and renewable resources.

TVA said it had resorted to more frequent cycling of Kingston’s units to meet fluctuating loads. “However, [Kingston] was not designed for these types of operations, which presents reliability challenges that are difficult to anticipate and expensive to mitigate,” it said. The coal plant’s design capacity of 1.7 GW had fallen to a summer net generating capacity of 1.3 GW, given the “effects of aging equipment and long-term fuel blend changes,” TVA noted. “As TVA continues to transition the rest of its fleet to cleaner and more flexible technologies, [Kingston] will continually be challenged to operate reliably,” it said.

The utility also highlighted the “significant monetary investment” required to comply with federal environmental rules, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Effluent Limitation Guidelines. “Continued operation of [Kingston] beyond 2027 would create operational, and therefore reliability risks in TVA’s system due to the deteriorating condition of the coal units,” the ROD notes.

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In 2008, a coal ash slurry pond failed at Kingston, releasing over a billion gallons of slurry into the Emory and Clinch rivers. That event put focus on the regulations, or lack thereof, regarding coal ash and how it is handled and disposed of.

  • Pete
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natural gas-fired CCGT

Well natural gas for now with hydrogen in the future!