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Report: TVA Made The Right Call In Deciding To Close KY Coal-Fired Power Plant

Becca Schimmel
Ohio Valley ReSource

A new report says the Tennessee Valley Authority made the difficult, but correct decision to close a coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky.  

The study, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis based in Cleveland, warns potential investors about trying to resuscitate the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

The report outlines seven risk factors of keeping the plant open, including the operation and maintenance costs.  Co-author David Schlissel said the 50-year-old plant has surpassed its usefulness as a viable power and profit generator.

He added the concerns are not about coal, but economics.

“I’d say the same if the cost of generating power was very high at a gas plant or if the cost of renewables was very expensive, but they’re not.”

The TVA board of directors voted in February to closethe Paradise plant which would affect more than 100 workers.  Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Matt Bevin, both Republicans, were among state lawmakers who called for the utilityto keep the Paradise plant open.

TVA Spokesman Scott Brooks said the federal utility has received one proposal to purchase the plant, but there’s still time for other investors to make a pitch. 

That proposal cam from coal investor Samuel Francis who owns Kentucky Emerald Land Company. 

He offered the TVA $129 million if the federal utility would agree to buy the plant’s power at competitive prices. 

The TVA said it’s reviewing the proposal, but President Bill Johnson told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press in March that if the utility needed the power from the plant, the TVA would continue running it.

Paradise is slated for closure at the end of next year. 

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Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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