TVA board approves pollution controls for Shawnee Fossil Plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority board voted to add additional air pollution controls on Units 1 and 4 at TVA’s Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah, Kentucky.

Under a 2011 Clean Air Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, Kentucky, other states and environmental groups, TVA is required to make a decision by Dec. 31, 2014, to either retire or install additional air pollution controls on Shawnee Units 1 and 4. A third possible option to convert the units to biomass instead of coal had been previously considered and rejected as being economically unfeasible.

After completing an environmental assessment that included public input, TVA determined that either option would have no significant environmental impact and released its final assessment and findings on Dec. 23, 2014.

TVA management recommended approval of the additional air pollution controls after analyzing the options from financial, operational and environmental perspectives. The installation of pollution controls at Units 1 and 4 will assist TVA in fulfilling its air quality goals and commitments while also meeting electricity demand and minimizing costs to TVA customers. Shawnee’s relatively small units provide flexibility to the overall power system because they can more easily serve load when demand fluctuates.

Shawnee has 9 operating units generating 1,206 MW of power. Units 2, 3 and 5-9 are not affected by this decision and already have sufficient controls to meet EPA regulatory clean air standards. The additional controls, which will reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions, will be installed before Dec. 31, 2017, at an estimated cost of $185 million.

In other business, Board Chairman, Joe Ritch, welcomed new members Gina Lodge and Ron Walter who were sworn in Dec. 23. Lodge and Walter replace Barbara Haskew and Bill Sansom, whose terms ended this year. Ritch also announced the committee assignments for all board members for 2015.

The TVA is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity.

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