NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority, on Friday said it planned to boost renewable, nuclear and natural gas power generation over the next two decades, while cutting coal usage to improve its environmental footprint.
TVA, which provides electricity in the U.S. Southeast, said in a release it will use its 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to help meet customers’ electric needs for reliable, affordable and sustainable energy over the next 20 years.
TVA said the plan gives the company some flexibility on generation options to account for future economic, regulatory and environmental uncertainties.
TVA currently operates 11 coal-fired power plants with 56 active units and three idled units with a total capacity of 14,500 MW.
TVA said in the plan it could idle up to 4,700 MW by 2017 rather than retire the units so they would still be available to return with modifications and environmental additions if needed.
TVA, like other coal generators faced with environmental uncertainties, has already said it plans to retire about 1,000 MW of old, inefficient coal units.
Despite all the coal units TVA could idle by 2017, the company also said it could build a new coal plant of up to 900 MW to preserve the option of coal with carbon capture.
TVA’s current nuclear capacity is about 6,900 MW, which includes three reactors at Browns Ferry in Alabama, two at Sequoyah in Tennessee and one at Watts Bar in Tennessee.
TVA expects to complete a second 1,150 MW reactor at Watts Bar by 2013. The company is also developing two new reactors at Bellefonte in Alabama and other units at unnamed sites.
On the natural gas front, TVA currently has 87 combustion turbines at nine plants with a total capacity of about 6,000 MW. TVA expects the 880 MW John Sevier combined cycle plant under construction to enter service in 2012.
TVA also said it could add up to 9,300 MW of gas-fired capacity by buying existing combustion turbines and combined cycle plants from energy merchants or building new plants at unnamed locations.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alden Bentley