TVA nears air permit approval for 1,085-MW gas plant at Paradise

The Kentucky Division for Air Quality on Dec. 9 released for comment a draft Title V air permit revision for the Tennessee Valley Authority‘s Paradise power plant that covers the shutdown of two of three coal units at the site and the construction of a new gas-fired facility.

On March 12, 2014, the Division received an application from TVA for a significant revision to the current Title V operating permit. TVA proposes to construct and operate a “three-on-one” combined-cycle facility, which consists of three natural gas-fired combustion turbine (CT) generators; three heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) with natural gas-fired duct burners, catalytic oxidation, and selective catalytic reduction (SCR); one reheat, condensing steam turbine generator; one natural gas fired auxiliary boiler; three natural gas heaters; one diesel fire pump; one multiple cell cooling tower; two distillate-oil storage tanks and two aqueous ammonia tanks. Nominal generation capacity is 1,085 MW. Three auxiliary boilers will also be installed to assist with startup and shutdown of the Unit 3 coal boiler.

The combined-cycle facility will replace the existing Paradise Units 1 and 2 to bring the source into compliance with the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). Actual baseline emissions from the retirement of Units 1 and 2 are being used to net against the potential emissions from the proposed gas project. As a result, there will be no net emissions increase resulting from the proposed project and Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality (PSD) permitting requirements will not apply. Permit documents show a projected construction start in 2015 for this gas-fired facility.


  • On April 16, 2014, the Division received a letter requesting a one-year compliance extension of all requirements of MATS for Paradise Units 1 and 2. The Division issued a letter of approval on May 5, 2014.
  • On May 28, 2014, TVA submitted a request for the addition of a mercury control additive called CyClean that would go into the coal burned at Paradise Unit 3, which would keep operating over the long term. These insignificant activities have been incorporated into the current permitting activity.
  • On Aug. 20, 2014, TVA submitted the required information to include an existing diesel-fired generator to the operating permit. EU 103 has been added to the revised permit.

The Paradise Fossil Plant is located next to the Green River in Drakesboro, Ky. It consists of three cyclone furnace coal-fired boilers (Emission Units 1, 2 and 3), three distillate oil-fired heating boilers, eleven distillate oil-fired space heaters, three natural-draft cooling towers, and solid fuel, limestone, ash, and gypsum handling processes. The boilers are fueled by coal with distillate fuel oil used for start up and low load conditions to ensure flame stability. Paradise is currently co-firing coal fines that are blended with other coal that is approximately 14% by weight, even though a range of 6%-8% by weight is the expected rate.

  • Emission units 1 and 2 are identical cyclonic steam boilers, each having a maximum capacity of 6,959 MMBtu/hr, with nameplate capacity of 704 MW. They are equipped with overfire air to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx), and the boiler exit flue gas is routed through the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) modules for NOx control.
  • Emission unit 3 is a cyclonic steam generating boiler with a maximum capacity of 11,457 MMBtu/hr. The nameplate capacity is 1,150 MW. The unit is also equipped with staged overfire air to reduce NOx. Just like units 1 and 2, the flue gas furnace section can be directed to the SCR for NOx control.

Shutdown of two Paradise coal units is part of a broader TVA plan

During 2014, the TVA Board of Directors took several actions related to the retirement of certain coal-fired units. Upon the completion of the new natural gas-fired facility at the Paradise Fossil Plant site in western Kentucky, coal-fired Units 1 and 2 at Paradise with a summer net capability of 1,230 MW will be retired. And upon the completion of a natural gas-fired facility at the Allen Fossil Plant site of about 1,000 MW in size, coal-fired Units 1-3 at Allen with a summer net capability of 741 MW will be retired.

The TVA Board also approved the retirement of Colbert Units 1-4 and 5 with a total summer net capability of 1,184 MW no later than June 30, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2015, respectively, as well as the retirement of Widows Creek Unit 8 with a summer net capability of 465 MW in the unspecified future.

The Paradise plant is in the heart of the western Kentucky coalfields and the shutdown of these two units will have a big impact on coal production there. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that coal suppliers to the plant earlier this year included: the Paradise #9 mine in western Kentucky of KenAmerican Resources; the Elk Creek and Onton #9 mines in western Kentucky, and the Pattiki mine in Illinois, of Alliance Coal; and the Parkway and Kronos mines in western Kentucky of Armstrong Coal.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.