The Tennessee Valley Authority’s combined cycle gas plant in Muhlenberg County has produced more than one million megawatts of energy in its first three months of operation. It’s part of the federal utility’s effort to diversity its energy portfolio.
The natural gas facility in Drakesboro produces about 1,025 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for half a million homes. The cost of the project is estimated at about $850 million. Bob Deacy is a TVA senior vice president and has been building plants for more than 30 years. He said there’s a lot of fuel switching going on across the country, and having a diverse energy portfolio will save consumers money.
“By having this balanced portfolio you’re able to switch from fuel to fuel and go with the lowest cost option of fuel which is best for the ratepayer,” Deacy said.
Deacy said TVA’s energy portfolio is split between coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, hydropower and some renewables. He said retiring some of TVA’s older coal-fired plants was a natural transition because of the abundance of natural gas and problems with their coal facilities.
He said TVA has built additional natural gas plants in middle and eastern Tennessee. TVA also plans to retire a coal station in Memphis, and replace it with a combined cycle natural gas plant. He said they were able to transfer and retrain most workers from their coal plant to the natural gas plant.