TVA Takes Paradise Unit 3 Offline for Final Time

February 03, 2020

DRAKESBORO, Ky. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority’s last operating coal-fired unit at Paradise Fossil Plant is ceasing operation, ending more than 50 years of providing reliable electricity to the region.

TVA Retiree Jim Chappell opened the breaker to separate Paradise Unit 3 from the grid for the final time on Feb. 1. Chappell was the electrical control wing operator who originally placed Unit 3 in service 50 years ago.

Paradise Unit 3 began operation in 1970, with a net generating capacity of 1,080 megawatts, generating enough electricity to supply more than 800,000 average homes.

TVA’s Board of Directors voted in 2019 to retire the unit. The other two coal-fired units at Paradise were retired in 2017. That generation was replaced with a combined-cycle natural gas plant with a baseload capacity of 1,025 megawatts, which began operation next to the fossil plant site in 2017. The gas plant will continue operating.

Over its five decades of service, the Paradise Fossil Plant broke several records for run times, and Unit 3 was at the forefront of environmental stewardship with the installation of the largest air emissions scrubber in the world.

“There’s a sense of pride and passion at the site that I’ve never seen before,” said Steve Holland, Paradise Fossil plant manager. “During its last run, everyone was supportive, volunteering to come in on their days off or work overtime. The team took ownership of the plant. That’s what makes TVA great – ownership and pride.”

As Paradise Fossil Plant closes its doors, it does so after years of reliability and superior safety performance.

“The Paradise team finished strong,” said Kris Edmonson, TVA’s vice president of Power Operations, Coal. “I commend the team for their commitment to TVA, the plant and each other. It’s difficult to stay in the game when you have closure looming over your head, but this team persevered as well as many others that have worked at Paradise Fossil Plant leave a strong legacy.”

TVA has been working with the approximately 110 employees at Paradise Unit 3 to find other positions within the fleet or to retire. Some will remain at the site over the next two years as a transition team.

“Our employees are the strength of our mission,” said Jacinda Woodward, senior vice president, Power Operations. “Over the past year, Paradise employees continued to demonstrate the commitment and strength of character that makes TVA such a great place to work. We can’t do what we do without our employees.”

“Through our employee programs, most employees will continue serving the Valley in new roles or plan to retire knowing they have played a significant role in being a part of TVA’s history through their work at Paradise,” added Woodward.

As with other locations with retired plants, TVA will work with the local community to determine any potential future uses for the former fossil site. In addition, environmental reviews are underway across the TVA system and at Paradise to determine the feasibility of locating new generation at this location as well as others around the Valley.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.


Scott Gureck
TVA Public Relations, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000
Knoxville, TN