Paducah Officials Voice Shawnee Plant Concerns, TVA Board Makes No Decision

Nov 6, 2014

Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah
Credit TVA
A Tennessee Valley Authority Board discussion on the future of the Shawnee Fossil Plant prompted a faction of Paducah officials to attend the meeting and issue comments. The comments involve the fate of 2 of 9 functioning units at the plant.

A 2011 TVA agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency requires the utility to decide on one of three option for the plant by December 31st. The options are to convert units 1 and 4 to burn biomass, install additional emissions controls, or retire them.

The Executive Director of the Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization Charlie Martin pushed for retrofitting.

“The potential investment by TVA and upgrades to units 1 and 4 at Shawnee would go a long way in helping ease the pain of job loss from closure of one federal facility through extension of life and job creation of another federal facility,” Martin stated.

With less than 60 days to make the decision, TVA Officials say they are not concerned by the evaluation’s seemingly last minute completion.  Shawnee has 275 employees. TVA currently does not know how many jobs would be lost if the units are retired. 

If the units are retrofitted, officials say all employees would keep their jobs and hundreds of construction jobs would be available. TVA Officials are discussing whether their decision-making process will be made public. 

A decision to retire the plants would be final. But, if a retrofit is chosen, the board could change their mind any before December 31st of 2017, by which time the decision must be fully executed.

The initial public comment period for the Environmental Assessment closes November 10th, after which the assessment will be completed and reopened for public comment mid-December.