TVA adds natural gas units to Paradise, supports solar power

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MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) TVA is making a big investment in natural gas at its paradise plant in Muhlenberg County.

The utility will invest $500 million to add more natural gas turbines, as the TVA keeps transitioning from coal to environmentally friendly energies.

Nearly four years after the TVA turned on its first natural gas turbines in Muhlenberg County, word comes more are on the way.

“Our coal facilities are a perfect fit for natural gas because we already have the electric infrastructure already in place,” said Scott Fiedler, a spokesperson for TVA.

The company plans to invest a half billion dollars to build three more natural gas-fueled combustion turbines at Paradise. The TVA will make a similar investment at its Coburn, Alabama plant. Fiedler says once online, its Paradise facility will generate electricity for 435,000 homes and it will bring 185 construction jobs in the next few years.

“We recognized that when we shuttered Paradise, it had an impact. What we’re focused on is bringing those jobs and investments back into the community and this is part of that plan,” he explained.

The addition also happens two years after the TVA made a controversial decision to shut down its last coal fired unit at Paradise. Demolition of the coal fired plant started earlier this year. Fiedler says adding more natural gas acts as a bridge to renewable energies as the company tries to reach a goal of 80 percent carbon reduction by 2035.

“What we need is a bridging fuel, natural gas, which gives that high reliability, which is instant on, we turn it on when Mother nature gives us a curveball and sends clouds over the solar panels. So, it’s always there, always on and always reliable,” he says.

The new units are expected to be running by the end of 2023.

The pictures below are renderings of what the three combustion turbines will look like.

(This story was originally published on July 7, 2021)

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