Allen Fossil Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Allen Fossil Plant was a 990.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) near Memphis, Tennessee.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Parent Company: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Nameplate Capacity: 990.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 330.0 MW (1959), Unit 2: 330.0 MW (1959), Unit 3: 330.0 MW (1959)
  • Location: 2574 Plant Rd., Memphis, TN 38109
  • GPS Coordinates: 35.073611, -90.148889
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: The coal plant was retired in March 2018.[1]


The Allen power station has three coal-fired generating units and "net dependable generating capacity" of approximately 753 megawatts. TVA states that "the plant consumes some 7,200 tons of coal a day." Construction of the Allen power station commenced in 1956 and was commissioned in 1959.[2]


In April 2014, the TVA board of directors voted to retire the Allen Fossil Plant, and build a new, combined-cycle natural gas plant nearby. The new gas plant will be 1,000 MW and operable by the end of 2018.[3]

In August 2014 TVA announced it would retire the Allen Steam Plant by 2018, and would decide whether to replace it with a new natural gas facility or renewables.[4]

TVA at the Crossroads, produced by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,733,667 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 17,413 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 13,288 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 180 lb.

The following table gives more info on this plant's SO2 emissions levels, as well as on whatever SO2 emissions "scrubbers" (Flue Gas Desulfurization units, or FGDs) have been installed at the plant. Each of the plant's units is listed separately, and at the bottom overall data for the plant is listed.[5][6]

Unit # Year Built Capacity MWh Produced (2005) SO2 Emissions (2005) SO2 Emissions per MWh (2005) Average Annual Coal Sulfur Content FGD Unit Type FGD In-Service Year FGD SO2 Removal Efficiency
1 1959 330 MW 1,744,664 MWh 8,136 tons 9.33 lb./MWh 0.49% none installed
2 1959 330 MW 1,657,662 MWh 8,170 tons 9.86 lb./MWh 0.48% none installed
3 1959 330 MW 1,757,813 MWh 7,576 tons 8.62 lb./MWh 0.46% none installed
Total 990 MW 5,160,139 MWh 23,882 tons 9.26 lb./MWh

Allen ranked 67th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[7] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[8]

Allen Fossil Plant ranked number 67 on the list, with 416,705 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[7]

Groundwater contamination

In July 2011, tests found coal ash contamination in the groundwater of all but one of the 10 Tennessee Valley Authority plants assessed, including two sites where investigators say the pollution could pose a health hazard. The inspector general’s assessment pointed in particular to the contamination at the Gallatin Fossil Plant and Cumberland Steam Plant in Tennessee. Excessive levels of arsenic and other toxic metals from coal ash were detected at Cumberland, 50 miles northwest of Nashville, while beryllium, cadmium and nickel were discovered at Gallatin.

In addition, the inspector general said that TVA officials for more than 10 years have found indications that toxic metals could be leaking from a coal ash pond at the authority’s Allen Fossil Plant. Arsenic above currently allowable levels was found repeatedly in a monitoring well at the site, which lies above a deep, high-quality aquifer that supplies drinking water to Memphis and nearby areas.

A TVA spokeswoman told the newspaper in an email that, at the time of the testing at Allen, the contamination levels were within limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water. However, the inspector general’s report said that arsenic levels exceeded a tighter standard later adopted by the EPA.[9]

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 860M: Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory,", March 2020
  2. Tennessee Valley Authority, "Allen Fossil Plant", Tennessee Valley Authority website, accessed June 2008.
  3. "TVA announces decision about Memphis' Allen Fossil Plant," Memphis Business Journal, Aug 21, 2014.
  4. Herman K. Trabish, "TVA to retire coal plant, choose new natural gas or renewables," Utility Dive, August 11, 2014.
  5. Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.
  6. EIA-767, Energy Information Administration, 2005.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  8. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  9. "Toxic Metals from Coal Ash Found in Groundwater at TVA Power Plants" Fair Warning, July 26, 2011.

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