Before the blackouts, TVA made plans to retire a fossil plant. Here's when it will go offline.

Cumberland Fossil Plant
Posted at 2:45 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 15:50:52-05

CUMBERLAND CITY, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a multiyear process, the Tennessee Valley Authority decided to retire the Cumberland Fossil Plant with a natural gas plant.

The two-unit Cumberland Fossil Plant will retire in two stages — with one unit slated to retire by the end of 2026 and the second unit by the end of 2028. Before anything goes offline, the energy authority will build a 1,450-megawatt combined cycle plant on the Cumberland reservation to be in operation by 2026. Replacement generation for the second unit has been deferred to allow consideration for a broader range of replacement options.

“TVA is building the energy system of the future to ensure low rates, high reliability, and increasingly cleaner generation. The decision to retire Cumberland with plans to retire the entire coal fleet by the mid-2030s is aligned with TVA’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions,” said TVA CEO Jeff Lyash.

Back in December, the energy grid found its biggest strain, with targeted blackouts hitting part of Middle Tennessee.

It was the first time in the authority's 90-year history that targeted outages had to happen, which affected thousands of households across the state. TVA said it had an unprecedented power peak due to the cold weather that struck in the single digits and created negative-degree windchill.

On two occasions during a 24-hour period, TVA directed local power companies to reduce power consumption. On Friday, Dec. 23, a 5% system-wide power consumption reduction for two hours and 15 minutes.

And on Christmas Eve, a system-wide power consumption reduction in 5-10% curtailments for 5 hours and 40 minutes. Most of the local power companies were able to target power reductions that impacted customers for relatively short durations, TVA said.

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