The nation's largest public utility voted Thursday to close six coal-powered units in Alabama and replace two more in Kentucky with a new natural gas plant.
At the board meeting in Oxford, Miss., Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson said increasingly stringent environmental regulations and flat power demand have made it necessary to rethink how the utility generates electricity.
"This is a personal nightmare for me," said Peter Mahurin, a board member from Bowling Green, Ky., said of the decision. "But I must support what I believe to be in the best interest of TVA's customers."
In fiscal year 2013, coal accounted for 38 percent of TVA's portfolio while natural gas made up 8 percent. Johnson said he would like to see those numbers closer to 20 percent each over the next decade.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell met with Johnson last month to seek continued operation of all three coal-burning units at Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, Ky. The board had previously approved upgrading the two oldest units with environmental controls. But on Thursday, Chief Operating Officer Chip Pardee recommended building a gas plant there instead.
He said the third unit at Paradise is newer and has sufficient environmental controls to continue operating on coal.
The board also voted to close all five units at the Colbert plant in northwest Alabama and one of two remaining units that had not been marked for closure at the Widow's Creek plant in northeast Alabama.
Board member Joe Ritch, of Huntsville, Ala., echoed Mahurin's comments on the closures, saying, "As painful as it is, it's the right thing to do."
He said that saving a few jobs now would reduce TVA's competitiveness for years to come.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
“We are under attack.” That was a statement by Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn Friday in a plea for urgency to combat the…
Three out of four car seats are improperly installed in vehicles, according to AAA technicians.
Legislation aimed at revamping Kentucky's juvenile justice system by locking up fewer minors has been sent to Gov. Steve Beshear.
Police say a Harlan County man who allegedly threw a cat into a wood-burning stove during an argument has been charged with a felony.
Kentucky's spring wild turkey hunting season opens Saturday and continues through May 4.
Kentucky's general fund tax revenues increased 2.4 percent in March - enough to ward off a deficit but not enough to promise a surplus.
Doctors at two university research hospitals can now prescribe oil derived from marijuana or hemp to treat patients.
Authorities say more than 40 small fires were doused, 12 people were treated for minor injuries and several people were arrested after…
Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney General Jack Conway told the state House Judiciary Committee that heroin overdoses have increased 650 percent…
Scott County is the fastest growing county in Kentucky, according to projections by the U.S. Census Bureau.