Following the publication of the 2019 IRP, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began conducting end-of-life evaluations of our coal fleet to inform long-term planning. TVA’s recent evaluation confirms that the aging coal fleet is among the oldest in the nation and is experiencing deterioration of material condition and performance challenges. The performance challenges are projected to increase because of the coal fleet’s advancing age and the difficulty of adapting the fleet’s generation within the changing generation profile; and, in general, because the coal fleet is contributing to environmental, economic, and reliability risks.
Due to the reasons listed above, TVA is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the impacts associated with the proposed retirement of the two coal-fired units at the Cumberland Fossil Plant (CUF) and the construction and operation of facilities to replace part of the retired generation. To recover the generation capacity lost from retirement of one CUF unit, TVA is proposing the addition of approximately 1,450 MW of replacement generation. Replacement generation for the second retired CUF unit would likely consist of some combination of gas, solar, and storage, but the planning for that generation can be deferred to allow more time to assess the specific types and locations of that generation. Additional tiered NEPA analysis will be completed as these future generation needs are identified.
TVA conducted scoping on this project and requested public comments on the scope of the EIS, alternatives being considered, and environmental issues that should be addressed as a part of this EIS. The public scoping period ran from May 11, 2021 to June 10, 2021. Comments were received by mail, email, and electronic comment forms.
TVA preliminarily planned to consider three action alternatives in the EIS: (A) Retirement of CUF and construction and operation of a Combined Cycle Combustion Turbine (CC) Gas Plant at the same site; (B) Retirement of CUF and construction and operation of Simple Cycle Combustion Turbine (CT) Gas Plants at alternate locations; (C) Retirement of CUF and construction and operation of Solar and Storage Facilities, primarily at alternate locations. However, the alternatives considered in the EIS may increase, decrease, evolve or change based on scoping comments received and initial analysis.
Whether these or other alternatives are reasonable warranting further consideration under NEPA would be determined in the course of preparing the EIS. Connected actions, such as the natural gas pipeline and transmission upgrades, will also be considered in this assessment.
Virtual scoping open house
TVA hosted an online open house on May 27, 2021, from 5:30 – 7:00 CDT. View a recording of the open house here.
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from: