TVA studies plan to idle Kingston coal plant where ash spill destroyed homes, polluted river

12 years after nation's worst coal ash spill on site, utility looks for replacement power

Staff file photo / In this 2012 file photo, water vapor streams from the top of a scrubber tower at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tenn.

Twelve years after the worst coal ash spill ever from a U.S. coal power plant, the Tennessee Valley Authority is considering shutting down the plant where the spill occurred and replacing its coal-fired generation with a cleaner source of power.

TVA will conduct a public hearing next week to begin an environmental assessment on a plan to shut down its Kingston Fossil Plant in the next decade. The nine-unit coal plant built in 1954 at the confluence of the Clinch and Emory rivers is capable of generating 1,398 megawatts of power, or roughly enough power to supply the electricity needs of all of Chattanooga.

TVA's long-range power plan adopted in 2019 recommended the retirement of 2,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation by 2038 and since then TVA President Jeff Lyash has said the utility plans to phase out all of the remaining units in its coal fleet by 2035.