Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will explore repurposing a closed coal ash site at the Shawnee power plant into for utility-scale solar.

The $216 million pilot program was approved by TVA’s board of directors late last week and is pending environmental and regulatory approvals.

Repurposing retired fossil sites is part of TVA plans to decarbonize its fleet. This includes adding 10,000 MW of solar energy by 2035. By that year TVA aims to achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions, from 2005 levels.

The nine-unit, 1,200 MW coal-fired Shawnee plant is located ten miles northwest of Paducah, Kentucky. The plant takes its name from the Shawnee Indian tribe.

Paradise plant towers imploded

TVA crews imploded the three more than 435-foot tall cooling towers at the Paradise power plant on Nov. 10.

The authority wants to make future use of the site, which is also home to a combined-cycle plant which opened in 2017. TVA is also constructing additional gas-fired combustion turbines at Paradise.

​TVA retired Paradise coal-fired Units 1 and 2 in 2017. Paradise Unit 3 ceased operation in February 2020.

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