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Air Quality

Through the power distributors of the TVA region, TVA provides some 9 million consumers with reliable electric power at an affordable price. This massive public power system, the largest in the nation, provides a service that operates for the public good rather than the need to generate profits.

Public service also means public responsibility, and power generation across an 80,000-square-mile service area cannot help affecting the environment. More than half of TVA’s power is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, and this process inevitably releases chemical emissions into the atmosphere.

Plant modifications

TVA's aggressive emission control program has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by 94 percent since 1977 and lowered nitrogen oxide emissions by about 90 percent since 1995.

  • From 1977 to 2012, TVA spent about $5.4 billion to reduce its air emissions.
  • TVA has installed emission controls on all 59 coal-fired units.
  • To reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, TVA has installed selective catalytic reduction technology (SCRs) on 21 of its coal units.
  • All five of TVA’s natural gas fired Combine Cycle Plants have SCRs to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
  • To reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, TVA has switched to low-sulfur coal at some fossil plants and equipped 60 percent of its coal-fired capacity with scrubbers.
  • The TVA Board has approved scrubbers for its Gallatin coal-fired units.

Clean Air Program

TVA has one of the most aggressive emission control programs in the country. Since regulation began, TVA has reduced sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 94 percent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent.

TVA is continuing to add emissions control equipment to help improve regional air quality. Scrubbers and selective catalytic reduction systems (SCRs) are under construction at the Gallatin Plant, and new air emission controls were approved by the TVA Board for installation on two units at the Shawnee Plant by 2018.

This video gives an overview of the clean-air equipment TVA has installed at its coal-burning plants. It illustrates how scrubbers help control SO2 and SCRs help reduce NOx to improve regional air quality.

Air quality standards

Check here for information on the federal environmental standards that affect TVA’s power generation.

Scientific papers

TVA carries out many research projects related to air quality and other environmental issues. See a bibliography of scientific papers.

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