The extent to which Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell will poison every man, woman, and child in the United States in order to please their friends in the fossil fuel industries was made abundantly clear this week when both men castigated the Tennessee Valley Authority for its move to close two coal-fired generating stations — Paradise Unit 3 and Bull Run.
The Paradise facility came online in 1970 with three coal-fired units. Two of them were converted to natural gas in 2017. The remaining unit is still powered by coal and has a capacity of 971 MW. Bull Run has two coal-fired units of 880 MW each and came online in the 1960s. TVA officials recently recommended the closure of Paradise 3 and Bull Run after an environmental review. The full board of directors is scheduled to make a final decision on that recommendation on Thursday.
The proposal to shut down the Paradise and Bull Run units reflects the changing dynamics of the TVA power grid, according to Utility Dive. TVA officials describe Paradise 3 and Bull Run as “large coal unit[s] with medium operating costs and a high forced outage rate.” Neither fits “current and likely future portfolio needs.”
“Unit 3 was designed to produce 1,000 megawatts of steady power generation,” TVA wrote in its environmental assessment. “With increased volatility in energy consumption and increased nuclear generation that provides lower cost, steady generation, Unit 3 is challenged to adjust in order to respond to these changes in consumption.” Retiring both plants in the next 3 – 5 years will “facilitate TVA’s statutory mission to provide reliable power at the lowest system cost,” TVA officials said in their environmental assessments.
It didn’t take the Polluter in Chief time to register his dismay. The announcement is a blow to his plans for a coal-fired America just like 100 years ago. After all, if it was good enough then, it’s good enough today, right?
Crooked Mitch McConnell weighed in a few minutes later with a tweet of his own. The man who gave ordinary Americans a big tax increase while coddling his corporate friends and rewarding the wealthy had his own praise for the virtues of coal. “I agree Mr. President. #Coal is an affordable & reliable source of energy we can find right here in #Kentucky. It powers the lights in our homes & employs thousands of hardworking Kentuckians. Coal has helped fuel our country’s greatness & it needs to be part of our energy future.”
For its part, the TVA assured the Hater in Chief that in fact it had done its due diligence and decided it had chosen the correct course based on business realities rather than ideological niceties. It said it actually had given “serious consideration to all factors” in making its decision. Some 16.9 GW of coal fired capacity were retired in the US last year, according to S&P. The coal industry is dying and there is nothing those two lunatics in Assington can do to stop the decline. That’s a good thing.
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