Paradise Combined Cycle Plant

The Paradise Combined Cycle Plant (formerly known as Paradise Fossil Plant) is a natural gas power plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Located just east of Drakesboro, Kentucky, it was the highest power capacity power plant in Kentucky. The plant currently has a capacity of 1.02-gigawatts (1,025 MW).[4] The plant originally consisted of three coal units, with a combined capacity of 2,632 MW (2,379 MW net). Units 1 and 2 were retired in 2017, and replaced with the natural gas units, and Unit 3 was retired in 2020.

Paradise Combined Cycle Plant
Paradise Fossil Plant.jpg
Former Coal Units, now shut down
CountryUnited States
LocationMuhlenberg County, near Drakesboro, Kentucky
Coordinates37°15′N 86°58′W / 37.25°N 86.97°W / 37.25; -86.97Coordinates: 37°15′N 86°58′W / 37.25°N 86.97°W / 37.25; -86.97
Commission dateCoal
Unit 1: May 19, 1963[1]
Unit 2: November 6, 1963[2]
Unit 3: 1970[3][full citation needed]
Natural Gas
Units 1–3: April 7, 2017
Decommission dateCoal
Units 1–2: April 7, 2017
Unit 3: February 1, 2020
Owner(s)Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
Thermal power station
Primary fuelNatural gas
Cooling sourceGreen River
Power generation
Units operational3
Nameplate capacity1,025 MW
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons


Paradise is located near the site of the former town of Paradise, Kentucky, on the Green River. Units 1 and 2, each with a capacity of 741 megawatts (704 MW net), began operation in 1963. Unit 3, with a capacity of 1,150 MW (971 MW net), began operations in 1970. Paradise contains three natural draft cooling towers, and was the only TVA fossil fuel plant with cooling towers.[5]

The town was razed by the TVA in 1967 over concerns that ash and other plant emissions would damage residents' health.[citation needed] A barge unloading facility was constructed in 1985 so that coal could be delivered via barge, as well as by train and truck.

The Paradise's two original coal-fired generating units were shut down in favor of two natural gas plants that were brought online for commercial production April 7, 2017.[4] The retirement of Units 1 and 2 reduced the coal consumption by nearly half in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.[6] According to the TVA, the authority made strides in cleaning up the emissions coming from their fossil fuel combustion facilities. Graphs and data from the TVA suggest that emissions in sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2) have dropped dramatically since the mid-1970s.[7]

In August 2018, TVA began studying the possibility of closing the remaining unit at Paradise.[8] A final environmental assessment prepared by the TVA concluded that the adverse environmental impacts of these fossil plants outweighed the need for them in this community; therefore it was necessary to close them.[9] On February 14, 2019, the TVA board of directors voted 5-2 to shut down Paradise Unit 3 by December 2020, as well as Bull Run near Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 2023. High costs and low capacity factor were factors in their decision.[10] This decision came following intense lobbying by the Trump Administration and Kentucky governor Matt Bevin to keep the plant open.[11] Chief Executive, Bill Johnson, of the TVA said that the closing of Paradise and Bull Run's coal units will save consumers approximately $320 million.[12] On February 1, 2020 the last coal-fired unit at Paradise Fossil Plant was shut down after 50 years of operation.[13]

On November 10, 2022, the TVA demolished the cooling towers of all three retired coal-firing units by controlled implosion.[14][15][16] TVA plans to install a solar power farm in place of the demolished cooling towers.[17]

Cultural referencesEdit

In 1971, singer/songwriter John Prine, whose father was from Paradise, released a recording of his song titled "Paradise". The song describes the former town of Paradise, Kentucky, which was destroyed when its former site was strip mined for coal.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "1,100 Employed At Paradise Steam Plant". The Paducah Sun. July 4, 1963. p. 9. Retrieved 2020-09-01 – via
  2. ^ "Second Unit At Paradise In Operation". The Paducah Sun. Associated Press. November 7, 1963. p. 17. Retrieved 2020-09-01 – via
  3. ^ The Paducah Sun – via {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Paradise Combined Cycle Plant". TVA. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Paradise Fossil Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  6. ^ "US_KY_COAL_PLANT_TOUR". APArchive. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  7. ^ "Paradise Fossil Plant Emissions". TVA. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  8. ^ Flessner, Dave (August 27, 2018). "Trouble in Paradise: TVA studies whether to close more coal plants". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Chattanooga, Tennessee. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Gardner, Timothy (February 14, 2019). "U.S. utility TVA votes to close two coal power plants, in blow to Trump". Reuters. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Larson, Aaron (February 14, 2019). "TVA Mulls Coal Plant Closures, Trump Urges Board to Consider All Factors". Power Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Gardner, Timothy (February 14, 2019). "U.S. utility TVA votes to close two coal power plants, in blow to Trump". Reuters. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Walton, Rod (February 3, 2020). "TVA flips breaker to disconnect 50-year-old coal-fired Paradise Unit 3". Power Engineering. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  14. ^ Kight, Adam (November 10, 2022). "Cooling towers demolished at retired Paradise Coal Plant in Muhlenberg County". WEVV-TV. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  15. ^ Austin, Seth (November 10, 2022). "TVA implodes cooling towers in Drakesboro". WEHT/WTVW. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  16. ^ Van Veltzer, Ryan (November 11, 2022). "Tennessee Valley Authority implodes Paradise plant cooling towers". WFPL. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  17. ^ Flessner, Dave (November 10, 2022). "TVA plans solar facility atop coal ash residues in Kentucky". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  18. ^ Martin, Frank (October 28, 1974). "John Prine Goes Back to What's Left of Paradise". People Magazine. Vol. 2, no. 18. Retrieved August 7, 2019.

External linksEdit