Tennessee Valley Authority considers replacing coal with gas

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FILE – In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, the Kingston Fossil Plant smokestacks rise above the trees behind homes in Kingston, Tenn. The nation’s largest public utility is looking at shutting down three of its five remaining coal-fired power plants, saying they are old and no longer practical. At a public hearing this week on the proposed closure of the Kingston Fossil Plant, TVA Senior Manager of Enterprise Planning Jane Elliott stressed the fact that gas provides reliability and flexibility as a fuel that can be called upon at any hour of any day. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The nation’s largest public utility is looking at shutting down three of its five remaining coal-fired power plants.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is considering replacing the lost megawatts from coal with natural gas, which is also a carbon-producing fuel. That’s despite President Joe Biden’s goal of a carbon-pollution-free energy sector by 2035.

TVA officials stress the fact that gas provides reliability and flexibility. But critics point out that any new gas plant will likely be around for decades. They also worry TVA is not taking a hard enough look at alternatives.

Scientists have warned that failing to decarbonize will only lead to more intense and more frequent droughts, floods and wildfires.

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