Black Bear Transmission’s (Black Bear) pipeline system, BBT AlaTenn (AlaTenn), has started delivering natural gas to three new natural-gas-fueled power plant units at a retired coal plant in Colbert County, Alabama. The new power-generating units will provide the site with an additional 750 MW of natural gas-fueled generating capacity. The power plant units are owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and all are expected to begin commercial operation by the end of 2023.
“We are excited to see first delivery of gas to the new units,” said Scott Langston, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Black Bear. “We are proud of our team’s successful and timely execution of the AlaTenn project, which will benefit the region by enhancing energy reliability and supporting additional renewable power capacity installations that further carbon emission abatement.”
The natural-gas project is a direct response to TVA’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which highlighted the need to expand and diversify TVA’s energy portfolio with affordable, reliable, and clean renewable energy. In 2021, AlaTenn and TVA signed a 15-year transportation agreement, which supported the construction of new pipeline facilities to transport natural gas to the Colbert County power plant.
“Natural gas is domestically abundant, reliable, and affordable, while supporting local jobs and the community,” said Rene Casadaban, Black Bear CEO. “Natural gas power plants have a unique operating ability to quickly ramp up and down to complement the intermittent dispatch of renewable power sources while producing only half of the emissions of coal-fired power generation. We expect natural gas will be a critical component of US energy security and power generation for many years to come.”