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TVA demolishes 50s-era Johnsonville coal plant

July 31, 2021 GMT

NEW JOHNSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority has demolished a shuttered coal plant that began generating electricity in the 1950s.

The implosion early Saturday destroyed a 600-foot smokestack and 10 boilers at the former Johnsonville Fossil Plant. The TVA is clearing the site for possible new energy technologies.

The TVA said the Johnsonville plant, about 80 miles west of Nashville, was its oldest coal-fired plant. It began generating power in 1951 and closed at the end of 2017.

“I’m sad to see it go,” said Bob Joiner, a TVA retiree who worked at the plant for more than three decades. “That plant was built in the ’40s by the greatest generation. They put all that together with nothing but pencils, paper and slide rules, and it was built to last.”

TVA has retired six of its coal plants since 2012, and now the country’s largest utility provider has about 14% of its energy generated by coal.

Earlier this month, TVA said it would invest $1 billion to build natural gas-fueled combustion turbines at shuttered coal plants in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and Paradise, Kentucky.