TVA’s updated planning document shows clean energy can compete

TVA’s Widows Creek plant in Northern Alabama will become a Google data center powered entirely by alternative energy. (© Google)

Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released the final version of its planning document, which outlines how TVA intends to meet its region’s energy needs over the next 20 years.

TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) confirms that the costs of acquiring energy efficiency, solar, and wind power are competitive with the traditional energy sources of gas and coal. Despite this, the utility isn’t planning to emphasize investments in clean energy in the short term. Instead, TVA will rely primarily on natural gas for the next ten years, while continuing to study alternative energy options. 

Even with the conservative recommendations in the IRP, TVA’s recent renewable energy deals highlight the cost-competitiveness of renewables and their economic development potential in the Valley. Earlier this year TVA established an agreement to purchase power from a solar farm in northern Alabama, and just last month Google and TVA reached a deal to develop a data center in Alabama fueled entirely by alternative energy. These two projects are projected to bring more than 500 jobs to the area.

The final IRP says TVA will continue to evaluate clean energy and acknowledges that its timeline for acquiring renewables and energy efficiency may change. SELC will continue urging TVA to fairly evaluate and invest in cost-competitive clean energy in the short-term so it takes advantage of the economic and health benefits these resources provide for ratepayers, workers and citizens in TVA’s service territory.

Final approval of the IRP is scheduled for a vote at the TVA Board of Directors meeting on Aug. 21.


Learn more:

SELC Press Release, "TVA Integrated Resource Plan Shows Clean Energy Is Cost Competitive With Gas and Coal"

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN), "Natural Gas Is King In New Plan For Providing Power To Tennesseans"

Chattanooga Times Free Press, "TVA turns to gas, renewables, efficiency in new era of slower growth in power"

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