TVA's Gallatin Plant
In Gallatin, TN, on the Cumberland River, is TVA's Gallatin Steam Plant. It was completed in 1959.
This four unit coal burner is rated for 988 Megawatts, burning 383 tons per hour to do it.
We have a lot to learn about how coal plants work. I mean, obviously, coal is burned to heat water to produce steam to spin a turbine that spins a generator, but there is more to it than that. Here is a view of some of the coal handling facilities. There were a lot of rails on the site, but most looked like they were seldom used. We are guessing that most of the coal comes in by barge... the Cumberland is navigable at this point.
A view of the other side of the plant, and what looks to be a transformer yard.
And the switchyard, with quite a few circuits coming out. Coal plants are baseload plants. That is, because it takes a while to get them started, they run all the time, providing the electricity "base" that is always required. However, this switchyard does not only serve the coal plant...
...but also a group of Combustion Turbines on the grounds. Combustion Turbines, or "CTs", can burn natural gas or oil. They are basically jet engines, configured to produce "spin power" instead of thrust, hooked up to a generator. They can be spun up and online very quickly, and so make great "peak load" plants, for the extra power required when it gets real cold (or hot) and demand for electricity skyrockets.
Their downside is they are very expensive to operate, so they are strictly used for high demand and emergencies. TVA generated less than one percent of their power with CTs in FY2000. This is probably a fuel tank.
Our brochure stated that Gallatin had four CTs, good for 352 Megawatts, or 88 apiece, that were installed in 1975. We found a report on TVAs website that stated four more were added in 2000. These are probably the new ones. We are not sure what capacity this added, but it was probably at least the 350 Megawatts that the four older ones provided.
A closeup of one of the units. More stuff to figure out!
And the "bagged it" shot.