The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: solar energy in tennessee

Claxton coal plantA public playground near the site of the since-decommissioned Bull Run coal plant in Claxton, Tenn. Tennessee Valley Authority is weighing options for the site’s future.  Abigail Baxter/Hellbender Press

Solar production and public green space remain options; coal ash questions remain

CLAXTONTennessee Valley Authority will demolish most structures at Bull Run Fossil Plant but has not yet shared plans for the ultimate disposition or reuse of the property.

Bull Run Fossil Plant was a coal-fired plant in the Claxton community, located just outside of Oak Ridge in Anderson County, Tenn. The plant opened in 1967. TVA closed it in 2023, and plans to phase out all its coal fired plants by 203.

The utility and its spokesman Scott Brooks have listed the scrubbers, coal handling structures and the large chimney, nicknamed the “lighthouse” by locals, as structures that will likely come down.

TVA has listed some possibilities for the site, including battery storage, park areas, “economic development” and a synchronous condenser, which is a device meant to keep the overall grid's power supply stable without generating any power of its own. This last option would involve keeping and repurposing the turbine building. TVA has not committed to any of these ideas.

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Citizens call on TVA to stop passing gas

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority in coming years plans to add both natural gas and solar plants to its portfolio to meet what it says are rising energy demands.

TVA’s Board of Directors laid out the federal utility’s plan in a meeting at Norris Middle School in May. Environmentalists at a previous hearing criticized the utility’s focus on natural gas rather than renewables or other measures. Other people, largely tied to local power providers, argued that a switch to renewable energy would be unreliable.

TVA showed a map in a press release following the meeting, showing four proposed natural gas plants and two proposed solar plants. Two of those natural gas plants would be in Tennessee while the other two are planned for Alabama and Kentucky. It stated these new plants will total 3,800 megawatts. It also spoke of its System Operations Center, set to open in fall 2024 in Georgetown to manage the utility’s grid. TVA also stated a desire to research nuclear technologies.

“Our region is experiencing growth at six times the national average, which means we must invest in our current power system and build new generation so we can continue meeting our region’s demand,” said TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash.

Several citizens criticized TVA’s focus on natural gas plants and new pipelines at the listening session May 9. Among them was Clinton resident and activist John Todd Waterman.

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