Combined Cycle Plant Dedicated at TVA's Paradise Plant

In western Kentucky, people are getting their first look at a new addition to the TVA Paradise Plant in Muhlenberg County.

The Combined Cycle Gas Plant was dedicated this morning.

It took more than two years to build.

"We've been at this for quite a while," says Bob Deacy, Senior V.P. of the Tennessee Valley Authority

The new combined cycle plant at Paradise will power homes for years to come.

"It's kind of a wonderland because it's a mixture of many things," says State Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty of Muhlenberg County.

The plant started producing electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes across Kentucky and Tennessee in April, generating up to 1,100 megawatts an hour, using natural gas turbines. TVA invested more than $1 billion in building the new plant. Deacy says Paradise is the only plant with both natural gas and coal generators in use.

"It's part of TVA's whole strategy where TVA wants to have a fuel mix balance, where we want to have nuclear, coal, and gas, and it's what's best for the rate payers in the Tennessee Valley," Deacy says.

The new plant starts as a growing number of utility companies switch away from coal to other energy sources. Two of the paradise's three coal powered units were retired earlier this year.

"It's bittersweet in some ways. We feel bad that TVA felt forced to diversify. We know why they did and we appreciate that. We appreciate the amount of money they put in over the years, and they continue to invest in their community," says State Rep. Prunty.

"This is going to be a part of this community for the next 30 years, as well as the coal plant. The coal plant's been a part of this community. The TVA Plant is going to be around for a long time," adds Deacy.

The combined cycle gas plant produced more than just electricity, it also produced jobs. TVA officials say nearly 800 jobs were produced in the two years in its construction.

(This story was originally published on July 12th, 2017)

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