TVA to Retire Coal-Fired Power Plant, Construct 1,450-MW Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Jan. 10 said it has decided to retire its Cumberland Fossil Plant and build a 1,450-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas facility by 2026.

TVA noted that it follows the National Environmental Policy Act, which ensures public participation and input and a robust review of all feasible options.

TVA’s two-unit coal-fired Cumberland Fossil Plant will retire in two stages, with one unit by the end of 2026 and the second unit by the end of 2028.

Before the first unit retires, TVA will build a 1,450-MW combined cycle plant on the Cumberland reservation to be in operation by 2026. Replacement generation for the second unit has been deferred to allow consideration for a broader range of replacement options, TVA said.

The construction of the combined-cycle natural gas plant at Cumberland will deliver up to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions from the site, it said.

“Replacing retired generation with a natural gas plant is the best overall solution because it’s the only mature technology available today that can provide firm, dispatchable power by 2026 when the first Cumberland unit retires,” said TVA CEO Jeff Lyash. “In addition, natural gas supports continued reduction of carbon emissions by enabling the integration of renewables, such as solar and battery storage, all while maintaining system reliability.” 

TVA said it will continue to evaluate the coal fleet for retirement and replacement generation. Currently, Kingston Fossil Plant is undergoing an environmental review to determine the potential impacts of retirement and replacement. A draft Environmental Impact Statement is projected in Spring/Summer 2023.