New TVA natural gas plant in Memphis to be one of most efficient in world

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tennessee Valley Authority is working to launch one of the most efficient natural gas energy plants in the world right here in Memphis.

It will replace the current Allen fossil plant in southwest Memphis, which burns coal to power Memphis and parts of West Tennessee.

"That's a coal fine power plant that's served Memphis well for the last 60 years, this is a natural gas power plant with the latest technology available," said Dan Tibbs, TVA general manager of major projects.

The new natural gas power plant sits on 75 acres of land and is a $975 million project.

"It is a cleaner technology," said Tibbs. "It's the cleanest technology available today."

He said the technology will reduce major gas emissions by 90 to 100 percent.

"It significantly improves the air quality in this area."

Unlike the coal-based power plant, this one will recycle 99 percent of the water it uses.

And they're also working with the city to use biogas, which takes product from the wastewater treatment plant and uses it for power.

The entire plant when completed will provide power for 750,000 homes.

TVA managers say customers can expect lower costs with the plant's efficiency.

MLGW buys its electricity from TVA.

They'll use the city's water source and also plan to drill up to five wells linked to the Memphis sands aquifer — a plan some have criticized.

"There will be no impact to anybody using water, I mean, TVA wouldn't pursue this option if we were believed there was an impact to our customers," said Tibbs.

The new plant's expected to open June 2018, with the coal plant closing December 2018.

TVA management says the former plant will likely be demolished down the road.

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