TVA retires last coal fired unit at Paradise Fossil Plant


MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) TVA marks the end of an era at its Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

Its last coal fired unit was taken off line this past weekend after providing electricity for fifty years.

It’s powered homes and businesses for several decades. 

“I was born and raised in this area myself and Paradise has always been here as long as I’ve been alive,” says Jim Phelps, Engineering Manager for TVA.

But this past Saturday, the last coal fired unit at paradise went silent.

“It was a bittersweet moment,” Phelps recalled.

The last of the three coal fired units, installed in 1970, went offline. Retired TVA employee Jim Chappell, who first turned it on then, pushed the button to take it out of service. He told Eyewitness News it was a somber moment, and thought of all the past and current workers affected by it. 

“Everyone, especially the team at Paradise, they showed a lot of pride in this and it was very important to them that the unit run reliably on its last run,” said Phelps.

It comes a few years after the combined cycle plant, which is gas fired, went online and replaced the other two old units that were shut down. Phelps says preparations for demolition of the fossil plant will take up to two years. As many as 125 people work at the fossil plant.

“There will be some jobs that leave the area, however, the team here at the plant had everyone at the plant here offered other jobs within TVA,” he said.

Although it will take several years to prepare and demolish what is left of the coal fired units here at Paradise, TVA officials say its legacy will last much longer than that.

“So, it is a big , it’s a legacy to be proud of and its progress. We’re moving on to other things. We’ve seen our needs have changed and it served the whole valley great,” said Phelps.

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(This story was originally published on February 3, 2020)

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