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TVA adds three natural gas units to Drakesboro plant to meet peak demands

Becca Schimmel

Three new natural gas generating units are now online at a Tennessee Valley Authority plant in Muhlenberg County.

The units, which began operating Dec. 31, are designed to withstand temperature extremes while also edging the federal utility toward its goal of a carbon-neutral future.

The natural gas units at the Paradise Combined Cycle Plant in Drakesboro can reach full power within 11 minutes to help meet peaks in demand. The units add 750 megawatts of generation capacity to TVA’s fleet, enough to power more than 440,000 homes.

“They have fast start capability and they can be operated remotely," said plant manager Jim Phelps. "We have it at a site that’s manned 24\7, so we expect them to be extremely reliable.”

Natural gas is a key player in TVA’s plan to transition to a carbon-neutral future.

Natural gas units are cleaner than coal-fired generation and can operate when other sources of renewable energy—like solar—aren't available.

The TVA recently launched a study on how to reduce carbon emissions at its Paradise plant in western Kentucky.

The federal utility is exploring a partnership with TC Energy to add carbon capture technology.

TVA Spokesman Scott Fiedler said the technology would work much like an exhaust system for natural gas plants.

“Where the CO2 is taken and captured, then it would be released and transported to another location," Fiedler added. "Right now, the technology shows it being drilled and pumped into the Earth safely.”
The $1.2 million study will also explore carbon capture technology at TVA’s natural gas facility in Ackerman, Mississippi.

TVA is working to become net-zero by 2050.


Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.