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TVA Recommends New NatGas-Fired Plant in Memphis

In an effort to comply with agreements to reduce emissions, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has recommended shuttering its Allen Fossil Plant and the facility's three coal-fired units, replacing them with a new natural gas-fired plant on adjacent property in Memphis, TN.

In a 193-page draft environmental assessment (EA) released Wednesday, TVA has proposed building either a combustion turbine (CT) or a combined cycle (CC) plant, with the capability of generating either 600-800 MW or 800-1,400 MW, respectively. Both proposed configurations would require construction of new gas pipelines and other infrastructure.

In 2011, TVA entered into an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other environmental groups to resolve a dispute over how the federal Clean Air Act would be applied to maintenance and repair activities at the authority's coal-fired power plants (see Daily GPI, April 18, 2011). TVA agreed to either install scrubbers or to retire the coal-fired units at the Allen Fossil Plant by December 2018.

The Allen Fossil Plant's three coal-fired units currently produce about 4.8 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Located on the Mississippi River -- about five miles southwest of downtown Memphis -- the facility was built in the 1950s by Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW). TVA began leasing the facility in 1965 and purchased it outright in 1984.

A 30-day public comment period on the draft EA is scheduled to end on Aug. 5. Depending on the decision made by TVA, the authority and/or MLGW may have to obtain or seek amendments to several permits. MLGW would be responsible for permits associated with the construction of any new natural gas pipelines.

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