Coal-fired plants have formed the backbone of our power system since TVA first started using them in the 1950s. However, in keeping with our commitment to generate safer, cleaner energy, we’re beginning to retire older, less efficient coal-fired plants and replacing them with low- or zero-emission electricity sources including:
- Cleaner natural gas plants
- Increased nuclear capacity
- Investments in renewable resources
- Energy efficiency programs
Our Coal-Fired Plants
TVA’s six active coal-fired fossil plants have a total of 26 generating units. Each unit produces electricity by burning coal in a boiler to heat water to produce steam. The steam, under tremendous pressure, flows into a turbine, which spins a generator to produce electricity. The steam is cooled, condensed back into water, and returned to the boiler to start the process over.
Read more information about each plant’s history, operations and performance—as well as installed emission-reduction technology:
New Uses for Coal Byproducts
There's no getting around it: Burning coal creates ash. But that doesn't mean ash has to go to waste. Dry ash can be repurposed in building materials, abrasives, cement and more. Learn more about how coal ash is recycled and reused.
The Intelligent Compaction Project
TVA is pioneering new technology to become the industry leader in the dry storage of coal ash. The ash is laid down, layer by layer, and compacted by special machines that use both weight and vibration to create a pavement-like hardness. Sensors within the ash allow TVA engineers to monitor the process in real time, and keep an eye on the ash 24/7/365. Read more about the intelligent compaction project.
Plants of the Past
As TVA has shifted its portfolio to focus on clean energy, some coal plants have fallen by the wayside. Here's a look at five coal-burning giants that have been closed over the years, including—most recently—Widows Creek and Colbert fossil plants.