Advocates Applaud Retirement Announcement of Memphis Allen Coal Plant

Guest Blog | August 21, 2014 | Press Releases

TVA Board Approves Replacement with New Natural Gas Plant

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865-235-1488 or [email protected]


Knoxville, Tenn. – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to retire all three coal-fired units of the Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis and approved replacement with a new 1,000 MW natural gas plant.


The TVA Board delegated authority to TVA CEO Bill Johnson in determining the plant’s retirement timeline, which must be completed no later than December 31, 2018 per the 2011 Consent Decree.


TVA plans to build the new 1,000 MW natural gas plant directly across from the current Allen site but did not confirm dates for its construction. The cost for the new combined cycle gas plant is estimated to be approximately $975 million.


In making this announcement, TVA stressed that a smaller natural gas plant will provide flexibility for later inclusion of renewable energy resources. TVA considered building a larger capacity natural gas plant, however, SACE and allies are working to ensure solar generation and low-cost wind become part of the replacement choices for Allen.


The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy applauds TVA for retiring the 55 year-old Allen facility instead of investing millions of dollars to continue operating it as a dirty coal plant.


“We hope today marks the beginning of a new clean energy future for Memphis,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We welcome TVA’s decision to retire the old, inefficient Allen coal plant. Moving Memphis away from coal and along the path to positive energy choices is the best decision for both public health and the environment. Memphis continuously struggles with poor air quality and regularly shows up on national lists as one of the worst places to live for asthma sufferers. Additionally, the Allen site is home to over 417 million gallons of toxic coal ash that is polluting local groundwater supplies. By retiring the Allen plant, TVA will help to clean the air in Memphis and we hope it will take the necessary steps to clean up the waters around Allen as well.


We are happy to see that TVA has scaled back the size of its new natural gas plant. We remain hopeful that that TVA will take this opportunity to further reduce electricity costs and grow a local clean energy economy by investing in solar generation and low-cost wind in the Greater Memphis area. SACE is eager to work with TVA to ensure that renewable energy resources will be included in the replacement options for Allen.”



Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at