Opportunity: TVA Starts Process Studying the Replacement Options for Retiring the Kingston Coal Plant

Retirement is long overdue

Kingston, TN - This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the retirement of the Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee. Through the upcoming EIS process, TVA will identify the timeline to retire the plant’s nine coal units and options for replacement generation.

More than 12 years after one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, the effects of the Kingston coal ash spill continue to have a lasting impact on the community. Those who have remained have focused on building a safe and thriving community, reclaiming their legacy through perseverance and resilience.

“As a former union carpenter who’s worked at many TVA coal plants I understand and appreciate the role they’ve played,” says Cleveland Carr, a Kingston resident who lives a few miles from the coal plant. “I think that TVA has a great opportunity with the closure of Kingston to be a leader in clean energy technologies, in re-establishing strong unions, and improving air and water quality for my children and future generations. I work at a company in Roane County with rooftop solar. I believe our county is ready to be part of building clean energy solutions while providing safe, good jobs to grow our economy.”

TVA is currently considering replacing the Kingston and Cumberland coal burning plants with new fracked gas plants or solar and storage technologies.

“Kingston's history of operational, safety, and environmental problems, as well as the ongoing risk of coal ash contamination to local water resources, have long cast a shadow on the plant,” said Jonathan Levenshus, a representative from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “The growing interest by TVA’s customers in reliable, cost-effective clean energy investments means that Roane County and the surrounding region is better positioned today than ever to achieve climate and clean energy goals without risky coal or gas plants. TVA must ensure this decision protects public health and our environment, and pays special focus to the communities and workers at the plant, making sure they receive support in the transition to a future without coal in the Tennessee Valley.”

“Making plans to retire the Kingston coal plant is an opportunity for TVA to transform a troubled relationship by eliminating a cause of deep residual pain while engaging with a community eager for the benefits of clean energy investment,” said Dan Tepstra, a member of the Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter and resident in Roane County.


A virtual (on-line) open house for the public to learn more about TVA’s proposal and ask questions is scheduled for June 29, 2021 at 6:30pm ET. TVA is accepting comments through July 10, 2021. Learn more by visiting: tva.gov/NEPA.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.