SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

EPA Releases Final Clean Power Plan Paving Way for Continued Growth of Clean Energy in Tennessee


Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448,


Knoxville, Tenn. – Today, President Obama announced the final version of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) landmark public health regulation. The Clean Power Plan establishes individual, tailored carbon emission reduction limits for each state and allows states maximum flexibility and a generous timeline to create compliance plans that fit each state’s unique energy needs.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy applauds EPA for moving forward with aggressive but attainable carbon standards for existing power plants. The U.S. energy sector represents the largest source of carbon emissions in the nation, accounting for roughly one-third of domestic carbon pollution.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) currently operates 6 coal-fired power plants in Tennessee, which emitted over 32 million tons of CO2 in 2014. According to TVA’s recently released Integrated Resource Plan, the utility is on track to comply with targets set in the Clean Power Plan due to its recent trend of retiring coal plants and replacing them with cleaner energy options.

The Clean Power Plan will also help spur additional clean energy development and may stimulate significant economic development opportunities in our state. As evidenced by a jobs survey released just last week, there are currently around 45,000 clean energy jobs in Tennessee – a number that continues to grow rapidly and could skyrocket as our state works to comply with EPA’s new rule.

In addition to economic benefits, multiple speakers from a Clean Power Plan focused conference in May hosted by Vanderbilt Law School and Vanderbilt Medical School noted that the Clean Power Plan will provide significant human health benefits for all Tennesseans, but particularly children and those already at risk for respiratory diseases. According to the EPA, we may experience up to 3,600 fewer premature deaths; 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children; 1,700 fewer hospital admissions; and avoid 300,000 missed days of school and work by 2030 through the plan’s implementation.

“Tennessee is in a great position to use the Clean Power Plan as an important economic development opportunity,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “Thanks to TVA’s leadership in retiring its older, dirtier coal-plants, our state is well positioned to become a true clean energy leader in our region and in the nation.

“In addition, EPA has gone out of its way to ensure this plan is flexible by providing multiple strategies for compliance as well as a long timeline to achieve compliance for each state’s plan,” Dr. Smith added. “We support EPA’s approach to reining in carbon pollution and applaud EPA for recognizing both the economic and health benefits of increasing clean energy generation resources as a primary carbon reduction measure.”

Now that EPA has finalized the rule, state air regulators will begin work on drafting and submitting state compliance plans to EPA for approval. States must begin compliance with the Clean Power Plan in 2022.


About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at