The Tennessee Valley Authority, which once generated more than 60 percent of its electricity from burning coal, expects to cut coal generation to only about a third of its power production next year and is leading all utilities in the amount of coal capacity it is shutting down.
A new study by SNL said TVA will retire 4,981 megawatts of coal generation from 2015 to 2018 — more than four times the next utility, Duke Energy Corp, and more than eight times as much as what Southern Co., parent company of Georgia Power and Alabama Power, plans in the same period.
Coal unit retirements are peaked this year after EPA began implementing its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule in April.
TVA shut down this year, or will close in the next three years, its coal units at its Widow Creek and Colbert plants in Alabama, its Johnsonville and Allen plants in Tennessee and its Paradise plant in Kentucky.
Electric generators are accelerating coal unit retirements as utilities prepare to convert nearly 6,000 MW of capacity to burn lower-emitting natural gas in 2016.
U.S. coal unit retirements were already on track to peak in 2015 after the U.S. EPA began implementing its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule in April.