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Fossil-Fuel Generation

TVA's 11 coal-fired generating facilities became the backbone of the power system in the 1950s, when TVA first began building coal plants to make electricity for the Tennessee Valley region.

TVA's fossil system also includes 106 natural gas-fired generators powered by combustion turbines. These generators can be quickly started and are vital for meeting peak electricity demands.  

Learn more about TVA’s fossil plant operations.

photo of Cumberland Fossil Plant

Coal-fired power plants

TVA’s 11 coal-fired fossil plants have a total of 59 generating units, of which 46 are active. Each unit produces electricity by burning coal in a boiler to heat water to produce steam. The steam, at tremendous pressure, flows into a turbine, which spins a generator to produce electricity. The steam is cooled, condensed back into water, and returned to the boiler to start the process over.

Find out how a Coal-Fired Power Plant works.

Read information about each plant's history, operations and performance.


Bull Run




John Sevier





Widows Creek


lagoon creek

Combustion turbines

TVA’s combustion turbine generators are located at 13 sites across the TVA service area. They run on natural gas or fuel oil and are designed to start quickly during peak demand periods. The turbines operate like a jet engine, drawing in air, compressing it, mixing it with fuel and igniting it. The hot combustion gases then expand through turbine blades connected to a generator to produce electricity.

Combined cycle units

Combined cycle units initially operate like combustion turbines. The difference occurs when the hot combusting gases used to turn the turbine are captured to produce steam. This steam is then used to drive a steam turbine to produce an additional 50 percent output. TVA has combined cycle units at five locations.

Find out how a Combustion Turbine Power Plant works.

Combined Cycle Animation

Read information about each plant's history, operations and performance.

Stantec Inspection Information

Stantec, a geotechnical engineering firm, performed inspections on TVA's fossil plant sites beginning in 2009 shortly after the Kingston ash spill. Stantec's final information can be viewed here.



Find information on all the plants in the TVA generating system via our interactive map.


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