Press Release | October 11, 2023

TVA ignores calls for cheaper and cleaner power by proposing another Memphis gas plant

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Today, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced a proposal to build another 200 MW of dirty gas at the site of the retired Allen coal plant in Memphis. This is the federal utility’s latest move in its multi-billion-dollar gas spending spree, which is the largest fossil fuel buildout in the country.

TVA’s reckless gas plans will lead to higher monthly power bills, reduce grid reliability, and worsen the impacts of the climate crisis, which are already being felt in Memphis through increased flooding, longer droughts, record-breaking heat, and extreme winter storms. Memphis families have lost power and water multiple times in recent years due to the changing weather and climate-change-driven storms. A new study shows that South Memphis is among the most climate vulnerable communities in the nation.

TVA’s massive gas buildout also undermines important federal climate change goals which call for a carbon-pollution-free energy grid by 2035 and fails to take advantage of the billions of dollars of federal clean energy incentives.

In response to TVA’s proposal, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Sierra Club, and Memphis Community Against Pollution issued the following statements:

“Communities in Memphis already face some of the highest energy burdens in the country. Now, in addition to its recent rate hike, TVA is proposing to spend millions of dollars on a new gas plant that will lead to more added fuel costs and even higher power bills for customers,” KeShaun Pearson, President of Memphis Community Against Pollution said. “Enough is enough. Memphis families shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for TVA’s fossil fuel spending spree. The utility should instead invest in cheaper energy options, like solar power and energy efficiency programs that meet our energy needs while lowering monthly bills.”

“The Tennessee Valley Authority is once again plowing ahead with plans to build expensive, unreliable, and outdated fossil fuel infrastructure, this time in Memphis. Families across the Tennessee Valley already felt the impacts of the federal utility’s obsession with fossil fuels when TVA’s coal and gas plants failed during last year’s winter storm, causing rolling blackouts throughout the region,” SELC Senior Attorney Amanda Garcia said. “Instead of putting all its eggs in the fossil fuel basket, TVA should invest in more diverse sources of energy – including renewables and energy efficiency – which can lower power bills while creating a more reliable grid.”

“Sierra Club just released a study yesterday that shows TVA has the largest planned gas buildout of any other utility in the nation and is failing in the clean energy transition. Memphis should not have to endure even more pollution and higher electric bills because of TVA’s refusal to seriously incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy in its planning – planning that is largely hidden from public view,” Amy Kelly, Field Organizing Strategist for the Sierra Club, said.

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Press Contacts

Eric Hilt

Senior Communications Manager (TN)

Phone: 615-921-9470
Email: [email protected]