Tennessee Valley Authority closing 8 coal fired power plants

posted at 9:31 am on November 17, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

It’s tempting to immediately file this one in the “We Hate it When We’re Right” folder, but there are a few wrinkles to the story. The Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal corporation which operates energy facilities and other land management operations across multiple states, has announced that they will be closing eight coal fired power plants. They will seek to reduce coal sourced energy to 20% of their total capacity and the plants in question will be closed in Alabama and Kentucky. (The latter plants faced some headwinds as Mitch McConnell fought to stop them from closing, but the TVA overruled him.) So what caused this?

The decision was prompted by a combination of environmental requirements, the age of the plants, competition from natural gas and declining electricity consumption in the TVA’s service area…

The pressures on the TVA are the same as those throughout the utility industry. The recent surge in shale gas production has pushed down the price of natural gas, and many utilities around the country are switching to natural gas. Electricity use nationwide has hit a plateau, according to Energy Information Administration figures.

While there were multiple factors leading to this decision, the one at the top of the list was the raft of new environmental regulations. It’s true that most of these plants would have eventually either closed or undergone conversion to natural gas anyway, but only at the end of their projected service life. But they are currently under the gun to install new pollution control scrubbers or shut down. The TVA spokesman cited looming concerns from two other forthcoming environmental rules regarding coal ash and a carbon standard among their concerns. The cost was determined too prohibitive in light of demand, so the plants will close and the jobs will largely be lost.

But to be fair, it is still worth noting that these plants were also the victims of other factors. Natural gas is cheap – and getting cheaper – with no worries about the available domestic supply of the resource for the coming generation. It’s a cleaner source of energy as measured in federal standards, so there’s less pressure from Uncle Sam to operate them. Conversion – or simply demolishing coal plants and building new natural gas plants – is frequently viewed as the best option.

The more curious part of this formula is that demand has dropped in the TVA service area. In specific, they cited a company which enriched uranium for commercial nuclear power plants – consuming huge amounts of electricity in the process – shutting down. But even beyond that one large consumer, the TVA cited a “plateau” in electricity demand over the last four or five years with no projections for an increase in the immediate future. I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.


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It’s a cleaner source of energy as measured in federal standards, so there’s less pressure from Uncle Sam to operate them

For now, but the Reds in the EPA and other regulatory agencies will find a way to strangle NG usage soon enough. They will not stop until we are 1980′s Soviet Union.

Rio Linda Refugee on November 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM

The EPA and the Left generally act as if nothing they do can be undone.

Akzed on November 17, 2013 at 9:41 AM

“Electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.” – Barack Obama

Pablo on November 17, 2013 at 9:47 AM

I’m sure the decreased demand has NOTHING to do with the bad Obama economy!

glsmith36 on November 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

The more pain the progressives cause, the more eyes that will be opened. The soulless abomination of a mindset that worships politics.

Rode Werk on November 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Obama’s war on rural America and the middle class continues.

He promised to transform America
Less healthy
Less wealthy
Less safe

R Square on November 17, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Demand down? Well the TVA doesn’t accept EBT cards for payment!

tim c on November 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.

Efficiency. Almost every new appliance introduced is significantly more efficient than what it is replacing. The new dishwasher we bought is about 3 times more efficient than the one we replaced it with, and we did not buy top of the line. This goes over the entire spectrum of electricity use in the average household from Refrigerators, Televisions, Dishwashers, Washer and Dryer Combos, etc. Everything is becoming more efficient.

Johnnyreb on November 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

The more pain the progressives cause, the more eyes that will be opened. The soulless abomination of a mindset that worships politics.

Rode Werk on November 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Maybe…

Maybe Obama will EO another program like Utilicaid

workingclass artist on November 17, 2013 at 10:04 AM

WTF…Russia wants to install GPS tracking stations on USA soil and the WH Marxist is all for it. When will the people say they’ve had enough?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/world/europe/a-russian-gps-using-us-soil-stirs-spy-fears.html?ref=centralintelligenceagency&_r=0

bgibbs1000 on November 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Everything is becoming more efficient.

Johnnyreb on November 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

And junkier in the process. I’ll take the ancient, trustworthy GE fridge out in the cave over the stainless LG monstrosity the wife just had to have in the kitchen.

“Look, honey, it’s got blue LED accent lighting!”

-Yeah but it’s making a strange clicking sound and it’s not even a year old.

“Ummm……It’s got blue accent lighting!”

Bishop on November 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

WTF…Russia wants to install GPS tracking stations on USA soil and the WH Marxist is all for it. When will the people say they’ve had enough?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/world/europe/a-russian-gps-using-us-soil-stirs-spy-fears.html?ref=centralintelligenceagency&_r=0

bgibbs1000 on November 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Flexibility

workingclass artist on November 17, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Efficiency. Almost every new appliance introduced is significantly more efficient than what it is replacing. The new dishwasher we bought is about 3 times more efficient than the one we replaced it with, and we did not buy top of the line. This goes over the entire spectrum of electricity use in the average household from Refrigerators, Televisions, Dishwashers, Washer and Dryer Combos, etc. Everything is becoming more efficient.

Johnnyreb on November 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Nothin’ like having to wash dishes & clothes twice…just sayin’

workingclass artist on November 17, 2013 at 10:26 AM

“Look, honey, it’s got blue LED accent lighting!”

-Yeah but it’s making a strange clicking sound and it’s not even a year old.

“Ummm……It’s got blue accent lighting!”

Bishop on November 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Funny, and very true

whbates on November 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Right now it is coal that is the big evil.
Its only a matter of time before they start going after the Natural gas plants too. You can see how they are hitting them on the process of extracting the gas, and when that is all said and done, the actually power plants will be next.

watertown on November 17, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Nothin’ like having to wash dishes & clothes twice…just sayin’

workingclass artist on November 17, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Yep. That and if I recall correctly there are some washers that claim to use less water, when in fact it just recycles used water it had used to “wash your cloths”. The flushing of toilets is another one that bothers me because gosh forbid you use more than 3 sheets to clean up , cuz it tends to clog it.

The efficiencies would have come around without the need for regulations.

watertown on November 17, 2013 at 10:38 AM

But..but..but Obama is “on the ropes.” His “signature piece of legislation” is in trouble. I know this from all the schadenfreude lately.

What garbage. Obama is just getting started. He’s more determined than ever. This Obamacare story/scandal will be dead in six months. Some broader fix will be worked out and a truce reached (because of the Republicans utter stark terror of government failure and continued refusal to accept the truth of who Obama is and what it would require from them) and we’ll be slogging under its yoke.

And Obama will keeping rocking and rolling along in his razing of America.

rrpjr on November 17, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Maybe the traitorous State Department could let the Russians run the plants?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/world/europe/a-russian-gps-using-us-soil-stirs-spy-fears.html?ref=centralintelligenceagency

PappyD61 on November 17, 2013 at 10:52 AM

“I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.”

I’ll take an ongoing shutdown of general manufacturing capability in middle America for $400, Alex.

Tom Servo on November 17, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Lamar Alexander voted with the lefties to allow this to happen.

Big Orange on November 17, 2013 at 10:59 AM

I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.

Efficiency. Almost every new appliance introduced is significantly more efficient than what it is replacing. The new dishwasher we bought is about 3 times more efficient than the one we replaced it with, and we did not buy top of the line. This goes over the entire spectrum of electricity use in the average household from Refrigerators, Televisions, Dishwashers, Washer and Dryer Combos, etc. Everything is becoming more efficient.

Johnnyreb on November 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

I’d say this is partly true but a large amount of that is offset by the fact that we have far more electronic gadgets than ever before.

I think part of what led to it is that despite everything being converted to cheap natural gas the cost of electricity has still skyrocketed. Most of that is not due to generation costs which have dropped but distribution. The distribution costs on my bill are now double the generation costs. People simply can not afford to use electricity as much as they use to.

I think part of the drop in the TVA area may be due to the federal government continuously tying up land and making it hard to build. Less development means less energy use.

Rocks on November 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

The sad thing is the amount of very well paying jobs this affects, at all professional, technical, and manual skill levels. Also this is not a buggy whip kind of thing.

whbates on November 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM

the TVA cited a “plateau” in electricity demand over the last four or five years with no projections for an increase in the immediate future. I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.

Like FDR, this President’s contribution to the extension of the continuing depression will go unnoticed in the adoring media.

In essence, this depression will last longer than The Great Depression.

unclesmrgol on November 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

But even beyond that one large consumer, the TVA cited a “plateau” in electricity demand over the last four or five years with no projections for an increase in the immediate future. I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that.

Efficiency. I re-lamped the new house to mostly LED lights and it really knocked the bill down. That said, I hate the new washer. Sucker takes forever to do a load of clothes.

trigon on November 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Cash for Clunkers, Coal Edition

faraway on November 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

…sounds fair…to JugEars!

KOOLAID2 on November 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Lamar Alexander voted with the lefties to allow this to happen.

Big Orange on November 17, 2013 at 10:59 AM

People like Lamar Alexander are why and how people like Barack Obama haunt our lives. But then people like Lamar Alexander always say that the only way to win elections so to fight people like Obama is to elect more people like them who won’t fight Barack Obama. And these people control the Republican party.

Either stage a revolution or lose America. Sorry, but those are your choices.

rrpjr on November 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Nuclear Power
Oil Production
Coal Plants

I hope the libtards enjoy sitting around their campfires eating saltines.

fogw on November 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The coal plants slated for closure include the TVA’s five Colbert units in Alabama, two units at Paradise in Kentucky, and one unit at Widows Creek in Alabama.

From our farm you could see the top of the tallest smoke stack and the plume from all three. I know people that work at the plant. I’ve been to Paradise when it was still there. I went to 3rd grade in a small two room school just a few miles from there. Had a pot bellied stove and everything. The teacher looked like that cartoon lady with Tweety and Sylvester

Oldnuke on November 17, 2013 at 12:24 PM

“TVA cited a ‘plateau’ in electricity demand over the last four or five years with no projections for an increase in the immediate future. I’d be curious to find out what factors led to that”

Don’t know what could possibly correlate with the last 4 or 5 years, oh wait, you mean our current government, Barack Obama, the non-economic recovery, and general economic stagnation.

Nah, couldn’t be.

Resume search for root cause.

PrincetonAl on November 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

When a nuke goes down for repairs or refueling something that generates power must take its place while they are off line. Where are the back ups going to be? Are we building more gas fired power stations? The electric grid is a very balanced situation because we do not have the capacity to store electricity. The shutting down power stations is going to end up like ObamaCare and our government will blame something.

mixplix on November 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM

No, it’s fleeing industry and stagnant economy. A GDP that grows more than 2% per year would outstrip small efficiency/productivity gains.

blink on November 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM

I don’t doubt that has something to do with it. But, I’ve got a 3,000 sq. ft. house with two refrigerators, AEK and a home theater system and the electric runs 88 bucks a month when the temps are moderate. If I have to run a significant of heat or cooling, it does run more. A few years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. Especially because the people who designed this place were nuts about lighting. I had to spend over 1200 bucks just re-lamping the place. It was worth it, though.

trigon on November 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Demand has plateaued. Of course, it doesn’t help that TVA junked its state of the art planning system in 2005 and replaced it with….nothing. They will find that shutting plants down takes a lot less time than building them. In the case of an “unexpected” rise in demand.

tngmv on November 17, 2013 at 2:31 PM

We should note that it’s highly unlikely that these plants will be scrapped. They will be carefully disassembled and shipped to somewhere like India or China or Pakistan where they will find a second life burning coal. Maybe even coal exported from the USA.

slickwillie2001 on November 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The left often accuses us of wanting to take the country back to the 50′s and 60′s (where, apparently, we were nothing more than knuckle-dragging klansmen).

They obviously wish to take us back much further — to 1929.

CurtZHP on November 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Obamas america requires no electricity for the serfs.

Murphy9 on November 17, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Electricity is o er rated… Umkay.

2Tru2Tru on November 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM

simply demolishing coal plants and building new natural gas plants

Well, it sounds really simple when you write it out, but does anyone have any estimates – as far as time and cash – of what it will take to demolish the coal plants and construct their replacements? And let’s not forget, EPA will move Heaven and earth to keep those new plants from receiving the necessary permits.

They will not stop until we are 1980′s Soviet Union.

Rio Linda Refugee on November 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM

I LOVE your optimism!! But I believe Emperor Obeyme’s goal is less 80′s Soviet Union and more 8th century Arabian peninsula.

oldleprechaun on November 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

The TVA should be privatized, period.

SC.Charlie on November 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

The more pain the progressives cause, the more eyes that will be opened. The soulless abomination of a mindset that worships politics.

Rode Werk on November 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Maybe, but isn’t the TVA itself a Socialist agency?

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

It’s the Obama Depression, stupid! That’s why demand is falling. Oh, and notice the interesting silence of the 2 liberal TN senators, Corker and Alexander……too busy kissing O’s butt to notice, I guess.

devan95 on November 17, 2013 at 5:11 PM

I hope the libtards enjoy sitting around their campfires eating saltines.

fogw on November 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Any ideas on how they’re gonna bake those saltines?

Solaratov on November 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

The coming Obama electrical black outs will be even bigger vote getters, for Republicans, than ObamaCare.

RJL on November 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Saul Alinsky blasted the TVA in the foreword to Rules for Radicals, as an example of why we need continuous upheaval and radicalism.

flataffect on November 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM

I like our new natural gas fired plants in Ga.

Bmore on November 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM

It is worth recalling that only a few months ago Obama floated the idea of “selling” TVA. I have no doubt it had a chilling effect on those who have grown comfortable as (quasi) government workers. Apparently they have seen the light, and are doing what they can to stay in Obama’s good favor.

CTimbo on November 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM

The reduction in demand for electrical energy is a direct result of the LONGEST and DEEPEST RECESSION in the history of the United States.
Gee, I wonder what the drumbeat headlines and lead stories would be under these conditions if King Putt had an ‘R’ associated with his name?

As for power generation we saw the consumption of natural gas rise under the second worst president in history (James Earl Carter) and it was a friggin disaster.
COAL is the energy resource of this continent.
It is plentiful and economic.
It is stupid to burn natural gas to generate BASE POWER.

Eventually a majority of people will figure out that King Putt is NOT the smartest person in the room. Too bad so many will suffer becasue it will take so long for this reality to surface.

Missilengr on November 17, 2013 at 10:23 PM

More jobs Americans won’t do.

David Blue on November 18, 2013 at 3:52 AM

The left often accuses us of wanting to take the country back to the 50′s and 60′s (where, apparently, we were nothing more than knuckle-dragging klansmen).

They obviously wish to take us back much further — to 1929.

CurtZHP on November 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Try the Old Stone Age. Except that these primitivists would decree a death penalty for making a stone tool. (You may not harm a tree, but they are allowed to bash your brains out with a handy “natural, unsullied” rock.)

If you think things are fun around TVA now, with coal plants being shut down, no nuclear plants being built to replace ones reaching the end of their operational life, and the enviros eying NG with a fanatic stare, just wait until they demand that all those hydroelectric and flood-control dams along Tennessee and Tom Bigbee be destroyed as part of their eternal drive to “make rivers wild again”.

By the time they’re done, the TVA territory will look a lot like it did in 1812. After the New Madrid earthquake series.

The only thing more dangerous than an interplate fault slippage… is an environmentalist.

clear ether

eon

eon on November 18, 2013 at 7:49 AM