John Sevier Fossil Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

John Sevier Fossil Plant was a 800.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) near middle Tennessee on the north bank of the Cumberland River.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Parent Company: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 800.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 200.0 MW (1955), Unit 2: 200.0 MW (1955), Unit 3: 200.0 MW (1956), Unit 4: 200.0 MW (1957)
  • Location: 611 Old Hwy. 70, Rogersville, TN 37857
  • GPS Coordinates: 36.376667, -82.963056
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees: Units 1 and 2 retired in 2012, Units 3 and 4 retired in 2014.[1]

Unit Retirement

The power station has been shut down. TVA retired units 1-2 in 2012,[2] and units 3-4 in 2014.[3]


The John Sevier power station has four coal-fired generating units and "net dependable generating capacity" of approximately 712 megawatts, and nameplate capacity of 800 MW.[4] TVA states that "the plant consumes some 12,350 tons of coal a day." Construction of the John Sevier power station commenced in 1952 and was commissioned in 1957. According to the TVA the "plant consumes about 5,700 tons of coal a day."[5]

Coal unit retirements

TVA considering shutting down some aging coal plants

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

In August 2009, CEO Tom D. Kilgore announced that TVA was studying the possibility of closing the John Sevier Fossil Plant and the oldest six units at its Widows Creek Fossil Plant in Alabama. A federal judge has ordered TVA to install pollution equipment on the plants by the end of 2013, at an estimated cost of more than $1 billion. However, the company has not yet budgeted any money for the improvements. In 2010 TVA is planning to begin building an $820 million gas-powered plant to replace the generation at its John Servier Plant. The agency has already reduced power production from the oldest six units at Widows Creek. Environmental groups want TVA to shut down or convert to cleaner fuels the oldest and least efficient of its coal plants, including Widows Creek, John Sevier, and Johnsonville plants.[6]

TVA Announces Plans to Retire John Sevier Units 1 and 2

On August 24, 2010 TVA announced that it will retire 9 coal-fired generating units totalling about 1,000 megawatts of capacity at three locations beginning in fiscal year 2011: Shawnee Fossil Plant Unit 10 in Kentucky, John Sevier Fossil Plant Units 1 and 2 in Tennessee, and Widows Creek Fossil Plant Units 1-6 in Alabama. In addition TVA stated that it will eliminate 200 jobs at these plants starting in 2011, but the workers will be placed in other positions within TVA. CEO Tom D. Kilgore said that TVA would replace the sidelined coal power with greater reliance on nuclear power and energy efficiency.[7]

April 2011: TVA to phase out 18 coal units, install pollution controls

On April 14, 2011, TVA and North Carolina settled the 5-year-old lawsuit - North Carolina v. TVA - over TVA emissions from its coal-fired plants. The deal was part of a larger settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over TVA violations of the clean air act at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.[8][9]

As part of the North Carolina agreement, TVA agreed to phase out 18 units of its coal plants, adding up to 2,700 MW, and to install modern pollution controls on three dozen additional units.[10]

The phase out includes two units at the John Sevier Fossil Plant, all 10 units at the Johnsonville Fossil Plant, both in Tennessee, and six units at the Widows Creek Fossil Plant in north Alabama.[11]

TVA will also invest an estimated $3 to $5 billion on pollution controls, invest $350 million on clean energy projects, and pay a civil penalty of $10 million.[12]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,127,786 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 30,126 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 9,690 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 310 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from John Sevier Fossil Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[13] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[14]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the John Sevier Fossil Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 65 $470,000,000
Heart attacks 96 $10,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,000 $53,000
Hospital admissions 47 $1,100,000
Chronic bronchitis 39 $17,000,000
Asthma ER visits 56 $21,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory", 860m March 2020
  2. "John Sevier Fossil Plant," TVA website, accessed Oct. 2012
  3. Form EIA-860 Data - Schedule 3, 'Generator Data' US EIA, 2014
  4. Form EIA-860 Data - Schedule 3, 'Generator Data' US EIA, 2014
  5. Tennessee Valley Authority, "John Sevier Fossil Plant", Tennessee Valley Authority website, accessed June 2008.
  6. "TVA may shutter aging coal-fired plants," Chattanooga Times Free Press, August 24, 2009.
  7. "TVA to idle 9 coal-fired units," Tennessee Valley Authority press release, August 24, 2010.
  8. "TVA settles with N.C. over coal plant emissions" News, April 14, 2011.
  9. "Consent Decree," North Carolina v. TVA, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, accessed April 20, 2011
  10. "Blockbuster Agreement Takes 18 Dirty TVA Coal-Fired Power Plant Units Offline" Sierra Club, April 14, 2011.
  11. "TVA Phasing out Hundreds of Jobs at Coal Plants" ABC, April 14, 2011.
  12. "EPA Landmark Clean Air Act Settlement with TVA to Modernize Coal-Fired Power Plants and Promote Clean Energy Investments / State-of-the-art pollution controls and clean energy technology to provide up to $27 billion in annual health benefits" EPA, April 14, 2011.
  13. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  14. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

External Resources

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