November 14, 2013-by John Blair, valleywatch.net editor
Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board of Directors today, gave an early Thanksgiving and Christmas gift to Tri-State citizens’ health by announcing they would shut down two of the three units at the plant and build a plant run on natural gas instead of coal to replace the closed units.
Together, the plants, which are to close when the construction of the gas plant(s) are completed generate 1,408 megawatts of electricity at capacity. Unit 3, which is larger, has a current rated capacity of 1,150 megawatts and will continue to run on coal.
Interestingly, all three plants recently installed scrubbers which became operational in 2012 and even with that large investment TVA decided to quit chasing bad money with good money since they could not meet the new USEPA standards for toxic emissions like mercury and hydrogen sulfide gas. Those emissions in 2009, the last available at publishing time were 10,010,317 pounds.
In it’s “fact sheet” coupled with the closure announcement, TVA said, “In the end, building a gas plant was the best long-term decision when all the benefits and risks were weighed and presented the best option for cleaner generation, while providing more flexibility to quickly meet peak loads during the day and come offline quickly at night when loads drop significantly.”
TVA says they will invest well over $1 billion in the new gas units. The units it will replace were placed into service in 1963 making them fifty years old.
Just this week, a study by the Environmental Integrity Project revealed that the aquifers beneath the plant are contaminated with Arsenic, Boron, Cobalt, Manganese, Molybdenum and Sulfate at levels significantly above health based guidelines.
Valley Watch has kept a close eye on the Paradise plant and offered comments and testimony regarding their operation for the entire thirty-two years Valley Watch has been in existence. Valley Watch’s purpose is “to protect the Public Health and Environment of the lower Ohio River Valley.”