TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) successfully imploded its fifth coal-generation plant since 2017 in Colbert County.
A string of dynamite charges toppled Colbert Fossil Plant’s six smokestacks in the early morning fog. Video of the demolition will be available late in the day.
TVA leveled the stacks and a portion of the 50s-era landmark as part of a $43 million demolition initiative that will clear the Tuscumbia site for future development and cleaner energy.
All demolished plant materials are being recycled.
Former Colbert plant manager Steve Hargrove, now retired from TVA, has lived in the shadow of the stacks since he was a child. He worked 25 years at the plant and said today is the first time in his life he’s seen a bare skyline from his bluff home overlooking the Tennessee River.
Hargrove now serves on the board of directors of the Shoals Economic Development Authority and is also the general manager of Sheffield Utilities—the local power company that serves the City of Sheffield and rural Colbert County.
“I don’t know anything but Colbert,” Hargrove said. “I opposed the decision to close the plant back in 2016 because of the 325 jobs that would be lost, but now I believe TVA made the right call. I’m sad to see it go, but I guess the guy who invented the horse and buggy had to have a sad day too.”
TVA announced earlier in the summer that it will invest $500 million to add to the existing natural gas power-generating units that are also located on the Colbert 1,300-acre reservation.
New gas units are about 70% more efficient than the old coal plants.
TVA has a goal to add 10,000 megawatts of new solar by 2035, as well as reduce their emission levels to 80% by that time, and achieve net-zero emission generation by 2050.
Six coal plants have been demolished in the past decade, which reduced the amount of energy produced by coal to about 14%.