KINGSPORT - The Ozone Action Partnership named the Tennessee Valley Authority a recipient of the organization's "Ozzie" award Thursday.
The honor, announced during day one of the sixth annual East Tennessee Environmental Conference, is in recognition of TVA's ongoing efforts to reduce emissions to in turn reduce ozone concentrations.
It comes on the heels of TVA's announcement it will begin a $328 million construction project at its steam plant in Rogersville to further reduce emissions there.
"It's basically a scrubber, to further reduce sulfur dioxide, by 95 percent," said TVA Manager of Air Programs John W. Myers on a major component of the upcoming construction project.
TVA has significantly reduced emissions at its John Sevier Fossil Plant through other efforts in the past 10 years, Myers said.
The plant was built in the 1950s and generates over 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to supply the needs of approximately 350,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley.
Adding the scrubber will further improve air quality in the region, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Myers said.
The new equipment will further reduce both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at the 712-megawatt Rogersville plant.
Sulfur dioxide contributes to the formation of acid rain and haze problems. Nitrogen oxide contributes to ground-level ozone pollution. TVA plans to add equipment called selective non-catalytic reduction systems to reduce nitrogen oxide and scrubbers to reduce sulfur dioxide on the four units at John Sevier, Myers said.
With the addition, scheduled for completion by 2012, all of TVA's eastern coal-fired plants - Bull Run, Kingston and John Sevier - will have scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide and advanced nitrogen oxide controls, Myers said.
U.S. Rep. David Davis said last month that TVA's investment in the new equipment "is key for continued tourism and economic development. The addition of these emission controls will benefit our area and help keep East Tennessee beautiful for years to come."
About 350 workers are expected to be employed during peak construction of the projects.
"The air in East Tennessee continues to improve and is cleaner today than it has been in the past three decades due to TVA's continued commitment to clean air," said TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore. "We have reduced our emissions of sulfur dioxide across the system by 80 percent since 1977 and nitrogen oxide emissions during the summer ozone season by 81 percent since 1995."
Selective non-catalytic reduction removes an additional 30 percent to 35 percent of the nitrogen oxides from gases emitted at the plant beyond reductions that have been made with the current nitrogen oxide controls. The first new system to further reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from Unit 1 at John Sevier is expected to be in operation this summer during the ozone season. The other three units are scheduled to have similar equipment installed by 2010.
TVA currently has either selective non-catalytic reduction systems or selective catalytic reduction systems on 60 percent of its coal-fired plant capacity.
Construction of the planned scrubbers at John Sevier is scheduled to begin in 2008, after an environmental review has been performed, with completion expected in 2012.
Scrubbers can remove 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant. John Sevier presently burns low-sulfur coal to reduce its sulfur dioxide emissions.
TVA operates seven scrubbers on its largest coal-fired generating units and is in the process of constructing three additional scrubbers to be operational by 2010.
Since 1977, TVA has spent $4.6 billion to reduce its emissions and improve air quality while being a leader in the construction and operation of emissions control equipment. TVA will spend an additional $1.2 billion on clean air improvements on projects under construction and announced.
TVA is the nation's largest public power provider and is completely self-financed.
TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 8.7 million consumers in seven Southeastern states. TVA also manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
The East Tennessee Environmental Conference continues today.