Four units at TVA’s Colbert coal plant going down for the count early this year

The Tennessee Valley Authority reported in its Feb. 3 quarterly Form 10-Q filing with the SEC that the coal-fired Colbert Units 1-4 in Alabama are due to be removed from service by June 30 of this year.

The Colbert Fossil Plant is located on 1,354 acres on the south shore of Pickwick Landing Lake in Colbert County, Ala. It has five generators, with a combined net capacity of 1,204 MW. Construction on the plant began in 1951 and commercial operation began in 1955. Said the TVA website: “Colbert units 1 through 4 will be retired in April 2016. Unit 5 was idled in 2013.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that Colbert last year took coal from suppliers like Patriot Coal Sales out of the BC#1 deep mine in West Virginia, Pevler out of the Prep Plant #2 in Kentucky, Trafigura through the Little Creek Dock in West Virginia and Noble Energy Marketing through the Arch Coal Terminal in Kentucky.

TVA pointed out in the quarterly report that the decision to idle or retire coal-fired units from TVA’s generation fleet is being influenced by several factors, including the two agreements that TVA entered in April 2011 to resolve a dispute under the Clean Air Act (called the “Environmental Agreements”), environmental legislation, the cost of adding emission control equipment and other environmental improvements, fuel prices, conditions of its aging plants, and demand for energy. Under the Environmental Agreements, TVA committed, among other things, to retire, on a phased schedule, 18 coal-fired units.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2016 (October-December 2015), TVA provided notice to the EPA of its election to retire Colbert Unit 5 and Allen Units 1-3 on or before Dec. 31, 2018, and Colbert Units 1-4 on or before June 30, 2019. Colbert Units 1-4 will be removed from service before June 30, 2016, the Form 10-Q added.

As of the end of 2015, TVA had retired 19 coal-fired units with a summer net capability of 3,210 MW, including Johnsonville Fossil Plant Units 5-10, which were retired on Dec. 31, 2015. The retirements of sixteen of these units, with a summer net capability of 2,148 MW, were carried out to comply with the Environmental Agreements.

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.