TVA wants to keep steam flowing with gas-fired turbine after Johnsonville coal units idled

TVA wants to keep steam flowing with gas-fired turbine after Johnsonville coal units idled

April 21st, 2015 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

The Tennessee Valley Authority will shut down the last units at one of its oldest coal-fired power plants in Tennessee by the end of 2017, but TVA said Monday it will continue to produce steam at the site using one of its gas-fired turbines to help sustain a nearby 600-employee DuPont facility.

The TVA Johnsonville Fossil Plant in New Johnsonville, Tenn.

The TVA Johnsonville Fossil Plant in New Johnsonville,...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.


Comments on the draft Environmental Assessment of the alternatives for the Johnsonville plant will be accepted by TVA through May 20. Comments may be submitted to Ashley Farless, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market St., BR 4A, Chattanooga, TN, 37402.

In a draft environmental assessment released Monday, TVA said it wants to install a heat recovery generator on a gas turbine at the Johnsonville plant near Waverly, Tenn., to continue to supply steam for DuPont even after the last coal-fired steam unit is shut down in two and a half years.

TVA has provided steam for DuPont to produce its TI-pure titanium dioxide since 1994 under a cogeneration partnership. But TVA is phasing out the coal units it began building at the Johnsonville plant in 1949 to help limit its smog and carbon emissions.

The federal utility added 16 combustion-turbine units at Johnsonville in the early 1970s and another four in 2000. These units can burn fuel oil or natural gas and are designed to start quickly and typically are operated only during peak demand periods.

The new, more efficient, 87-megawatt, gas-fired generator TVA is planning at Johnsonville will generate power as needed for TVA while producing steam for DuPont's manufacturing operations when it comes online in January 2018. DuPont will buy the steam generated from the heat recovery generator to help operate its plant, which makes titanium dioxide for the coatings, paper and plastics industries.

"Our unique public-private partnership not only benefits our organizations, it's also critical to the economic well-being of this region through our combined community efforts and the well-paid jobs that remain here," DuPont New Johnsonville Plant Manager Greg Martz said in a statement announcing the pact between TVA and DuPont.

DuPont has operated a plant near TVA's Johnsonville plant since 1958, company spokesman Terry Gooding said.

"It really is a win-win," TVA Executive Vice President Van Wardlaw said. "This new plant will produce reliable power for our customers and their end-use energy consumers while also providing DuPont with the process steam needed in its manufacturing operations next door."