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Kentucky Coal Investor Makes Offer to Buy Paradise Fossil Plant

Glynis Board

A coal investor is making an offer to purchase a western Kentucky power plant slated for closure next year. A  Henderson-based company wants to acquire the 50-year-old Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

The Tennessee Valley Authority voted last month to shutter the coal-fired Paradise plant by the end of 2020, citing the cost of repairs and environmental compliance. 

In a March 6 letter to the TVA, coal investor Samuel Francis with The Kentucky Emerald Land Company said he’d buy the plant.  He offered the utility $129 million if TVA would agree to buy the plant’s power at competitive prices.  During a visit to Bowling Green this week, Governor Matt Bevin declined to comment on the proposal, but said he hopes to keep Paradise as a customer dependent on Kentucky coal.

“Never in the history of the world has there been more coal consumed and converted to electricity than there is right now," state Bevin. "For all the talk about the decline in coal, that’s nonsense.”

With power demand in the TVA service region flat or declining and cheaper forms of energy such as natural gas, TVA has closed half of its coal-fired power plants. 

The TVA says it’s reviewing the purchase proposal, but President Bill Johnson told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press that if the utility needed the power from the plant, the TVA would still be running it.

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