TVA seeks input on future options for Colbert power plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is asking for public input on a study of the environmental impacts of various options for the future of the retired Colbert Fossil Plant in northwest Alabama.

TVA said July 19 that its preferred option arising from an environmental assessment would tear down the coal power infrastructure. Natural gas power generation equipment would remain.

TVA needs to make a decision concerning the future disposition of the buildings and physical structures at Colbert that are no longer used for their original purpose of power generation, the federal utility said in a news release.

Units 1-5 were retired earlier this year under an agreement between TVA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TVA first started burning coal to generate power at Colbert in the 1950s.

TVA has prepared a draft environmental assessment that considers four alternatives for the plant:

• Alternative A – TVA would assess, close, and secure Units 1-5, and implement an    operations and maintenance program to maintain structures and equipment.

• Alternative B – TVA would conduct demolition of Units 1-5 and other structures to three feet below final grade (brownfield) including the six stacks.

• Alternative C – Assess, close, and secure Units 1-5, demolish outlying buildings,    structures, retain powerhouse.

• Alternative D – TVA would take no action.

 Under the preferred alternative, TVA would demolish all five units and other structures, including the six stacks, to a brownfield state three feet below ground level, making it suitable for commercial or industrial use.

 Demolition could occur through the use of explosives, manual deconstruction, or a combination of these processes. All activity related to the proposed alternatives will take place on the Colbert site.

 All combustion turbine gas-fired units at Colbert will continue to operate and are not considered in this draft Environmental Assessment.

 The draft environmental assessment is available for review and comment through Aug. 22 online at

Interested parties can also try contacting Ashley Farless by traditional mail at 1101 Market St., BR 4A, Chattanooga, TN, 37402; or by e-mail at

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at