‘A unique application’: TVA takes $216M first step toward turning coal ash sites into solar farms

By Josh Keefe, The Tenneseean


The Tennessee Valley Authority took its first step toward turning its coal ash landfills into solar energy farms on Thursday. At its quarterly meeting, the TVA board unanimously approved $216 million in funding for a pilot project aimed at building a 100-megawatt, 309-acre solar farm on top of a coal ash landfill at the Shawnee Fossil Plant in Paducah, Kentucky. 

The project is the first step in TVA’s efforts to convert sites contaminated by the legacy of coal into productive sources of renewable energy. If TVA can make the solar installation at Shawnee work and deploy similar efforts across its system, it anticipates adding 1,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity. That is equal to nearly all of TVA’s current solar capacity and enough to power roughly 600,000 homes. Read more here.

Previously Posted


Most Power Plants Violating Federal Rules Mandating Cleanup of Toxic Coal Ash Dumps,
 the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seven years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposed the first federal rules requiring the cleanup of coal ash waste dumps, only about half of the power plants that are contaminating groundwater agree that cleanup is necessary, and 96 percent of these power plants are not proposing any groundwater treatment. Only one plant out of 292 is planning a comprehensive cleanup.

The failure of the vast majority of power companies to follow the 2015 Coal Ash Rule has serious consequences for water quality and public health. Monitoring data shows that 91 percent of U.S. coal-fired plants have ash landfills or waste ponds that are leaking arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and other metals into groundwater at dangerous levels, often threatening streams, rivers, and drinking water aquifers.

These are among the conclusions of a new report, Poisonous Coverup: The Widespread Failure of the Power Industry to Clean Up Coal Ash Dumps, by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice.


Nebraska Data From The Report: Coal Power Plant Rank / Site, Pollutants Exceeding Safe Levels and by how much, Number of Regulated Disposal Units

79 North Omaha Station
Arsenic (x22), Boron (x2), Cobalt (x2), Lithium (x3), Molybdenum (x23), Selenium (x2), Sulfate (x2). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

182 Nebraska City Generating Station
Arsenic (x5), Boron (x2), Lithium (x1), Molybdenum (x2). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 2

230 Sheldon Station
Lithium (x3), Sulfate (x3). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

245 Platte Generating Station
Cobalt (x3). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

256 Whelan Energy Center
Lithium (x1), Molybdenum (x1). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

263 Gerald Gentleman Station
No pollutants present at unsafe levels. Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

268 Lon D. Wright Power Plant
No pollutants present at unsafe levels. Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

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Photo Credit: Chris Machian, Omaha World-Herald. Coal is piled outside OPPD’s North Omaha plant. Coal emissions are a major source of pollution, contributing to a variety of health problems.