TVA to install emission controls at Gallatin coal-fired plant
Originally published March 20, 2013
The Tennessee Valley Authority has decided to proceed with a $1.1 billion project to install selective catalytic reduction systems and scrubbers at all four units at its 988-MW Gallatin coal-fired plant. In a March 12 memo, TVA CEO Bill Johnson said installing the controls was "a close question," but the TVA board’s direction to achieve a more balanced portfolio "tips the decision in favor of" the project.
"TVA is going to retire more coal units in the future, but the Gallatin units are performing very well and there are better candidates for retirement on the TVA system," Johnson said. Under a 2011 settlement agreement with several states and environmental groups, TVA agreed to retire 18 coal units with a total combined capacity of 2,032 MW, while the plan approved by TVA’s board calls for retiring 2,400 to 4,700 MW of coal-fired capacity, he said. The Gallatin project would comply with the settlement, which "provided TVA a great deal of flexibility to control its remaining plants to a greater or lesser degree," he said.
The controls would reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide by approximately 96 and 90 percent, respectively, Johnson said. Emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants also would be substantially reduced.
The Gallatin controls will cost approximately $1,000 per kilowatt, which is roughly the same cost per kilowatt to build a new combined-cycle natural gas plant, Johnson said. In keeping with the board’s direction, TVA is working to increase its use of nuclear, natural gas and renewable generation, as well as energy efficiency, he said. "However, a balanced portfolio includes continued use of some of TVA’s coal-fired resources." The Gallatin units are the primary source of energy used in the Nashville area and provide critical voltage support for the area, he added.
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