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Tennessee Valley Authority Board Approves New Long Term Energy Plan With More Solar, Less Coal

Targeted News Service (Press Releases)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, Aug. 22 -- The Sierra Club issued the following news release:

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- Utility Still Too Reliant on Gas, Short Shrifts Energy Efficiency

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The Tennessee Valley Authority's board of directors today approved the utility's plans for electricity generation over the next 20 years, formalizing an increased commitment to clean solar resources and less reliance on dirty, expensive coal.

The new plan calls for TVA to add up to 14 gigawatts of solar and up to 5 gigawatts of battery storage. Economic analysis for this plan--called an "Integrated Resource Plan," or IRP--showed that adopting renewable energy, especially solar and battery storage, are consistent with a least-cost approach for keeping electricity prices low. One gigawatt of solar can power more than 100,000 homes.

However, TVA's planning vision still relies too heavily on risky gas, which not only exposes customers to a volatile market, but also worsens the climate crisis. The plan also falls short on energy efficiency, which lowers people's bills and reduces the air and water pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

Sierra Club sat on TVA's 2019 IRP Working Group, a task force of TVA's local power companies, industrial customers, government officials, and energy experts who met regularly to give input on the plan as it evolved.

In response to today's vote, Jonathan Levenshus with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, issued the following statement:

"We're glad TVA is planning for the smart business decision to burn less coal and add more affordable, clean solar to its electricity generation for families and businesses in the Tennessee Valley. Resource planning built on clean energy technologies creates jobs and strengthens local economies without the massive climate, air, and water pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

"But even with these positive strides, TVA should make much bigger investments in energy efficiency to help customers use less electricity and pay lower bills. And they shouldn't just trade burning coal for burning gas, which locks in dangerous greenhouse gas emissions for decades and feeds the climate crisis.

"We can't afford to remain dependent on fossil fuels, and we don't have to: energy markets, public health concerns, and common sense demand that we speed the growth of renewable resources and facilitate the just transition of our communities to an economy powered by 100 percent clean energy."

Bonnie Swinford, an organizer for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:

"For over a year, Sierra Club members from across the Tennessee Valley gave TVA input as this IRP evolved. Hundreds of our members attended the IRP open houses TVA hosted for the public, and they submitted over 2,000 comments--coming from every state that TVA serves--urging TVA to turn the IRP into an action plan for clean energy."

Dr. Joe Schiller, a Professor of Biology at Austin Peay State University, and a Sierra Club Chapter leader in Tennessee, issued the following statement:

"TVA should strive to exceed the scale of the most ambitious renewable energy implementation and energy storage strategies described in this IRP and to do so at the most accelerated pace that is technically and financially possible. It should also strive to retire as much fossil fuel generation as practical and replace it with renewable energy resources and storage technologies.

"Time is short! The world is moving away from fossil fuel to a healthier, more affordable, and safer energy future regardless of what TVA does."


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