NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Shutting down a Kentucky coal-fired power plant is the right decision, the new head of the Tennessee Valley Authority said Friday. President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate majority leader who hails from Kentucky had previously criticized the move.
Jeff Lyash took over as president and CEO of the nation’s largest public utility on Monday. In an interview with The Associated Press, Lyash said the Paradise Fossil Plant is at the end of its life and no longer cost effective to operate.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had joined Trump in the plea to keep Paradise up and running, but TVA’s board still voted days later in February to retire the remaining coal-fired unit there by December 2020. The board also voted to close the Bull Run Fossil Plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, by December 2023.
“These coal plants were ‘the’ technology when they were built,” Lyash said Friday. But he added that technology has changed along with customer demands.
“And that’s what leads to decisions like retirements on Paradise and Bull Run. For me it has little to do with a ‘war on coal’ or anything else. It has to do with deciding what’s best for the Tennessee Valley,” he said.
And as for Trump, Lyash said with a laugh, “One of my objectives is to never be on either end, good or bad, of a presidential tweet.”