Natural gas plant that replaced two coal mines now in operation

Natural gas plant that replaced two coal mines now in operation

DRAKESBORO, KY (WFIE) - The new natural gas plant that replaced two coal powered plants in western Kentucky is now in operation.

It's the Paradise Combined-Cycle power plant in Muhlenberg County, and it's a project that cost $1 billion.

Tennessee Valley Authority officials told us the plant uses natural gas to produce 1,025 megawatts of electricity; enough to power more than half a million homes.

The state-of-the-art facility took more than two years to build bringing over 800 jobs to the region for construction and putting $85 million back in the state of Kentucky.

"Really, I take great pride in seeing this built for the people of Tennessee Valley," said Robert Deacy, TVA's Senior Vice President.

The move to meet stricter air quality standards comes at a price for the heart of Kentucky's coal country.

"It's bittersweet," District 15 State Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty told us. "It's a great celebration for TVA, and we appreciate all that they've done over the years and the continued jobs that we have. There's just some concerns in the coal mining world overtime that some of my constituents have raised concerns about the future."

Prunty says she's received an influx of calls and mail from coal supporters around the region.

"I do believe that they don't want to be a negative economic impact," Prunty said. "They (TVA) want to continue to be a positive economic impact, but they also have to make reasonable decisions."

Dozens of coal jobs were lost or transferred with the new plant only needing 29 full-time employees to operate it.

TVA officials told us the natural gas plant emits lower emissions and costs hundreds of thousands less to operate per year.

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