The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to add six new natural gas combustion turbines totaling 1,500 MW at the sites of two shuttered coal plants in Alabama and Kentucky.
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The new units will replace capacity from retiring combustion turbine units elsewhere on TVA's system, according to a July 6 announcement.
In total, TVA said it plans to invest $1 billion to build three new combustion turbine units at the Paradise coal-fired plant, retired in 2020, and three units at the Colbert coal plant, retired in 2016, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
Those six new units will total 1,500 MW, TVA said.
"As we continue to evolve our generation portfolio, natural gas is the right choice at this time because it provides the flexibility and reliability we need to add more solar energy," Jacinda Woodward, senior vice president for power operations, said. "Current and retired coal plant sites are prime locations for new gas generation because the electrical infrastructure is already in place."
TVA sees the additional combustion turbines as a way to support renewable efforts, especially as it considers shuttering its remaining coal fleet. The agency plans to add about 10,000 MW of new solar by 2035, according to the announcement.
TVA currently operates 108 natural gas and fuel oil-fired generators at 17 sites: nine in Tennessee, five in Mississippi, one in Alabama and two in Kentucky, totaling more than 12,000 MW.
In May, TVA announced it would move ahead with plans to potentially retire the 2,522-MW Cumberland coal plant, one of the 10 largest coal plants in the United States.
TVA aims to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030, 80% by 2035 and reach net-zero by 2050, Woodward said.