Burning Coal, Burning Cash – Tennessee

George Cavros | May 19, 2010 | Podcasts

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ latest national report spotlights how much money each state spends to import coal from outside its borders (mainly from other states but also internationally), and thus exports energy dollars from its local economy. The top 10 coal-dependent states are identified based on six different measures of coal-import dependence, including (1) the most spent on total imports; (2) the greatest quantity of imports; (3) the highest import costs per capita; (4) the highest import costs per gross state product; and (5) the highest import costs as a share of electricity consumed. Tennessee ranks in the top 10 in five of these six measures!

The report also reveals that TVA spends nearly $2 billion per year on coal expenditures, effectively taking this money out of the Tennessee’s local economies. On the flip side, the report discusses why it would be better to keep those dollars in-state by investing in energy efficiency and local renewable energy.

In addition, the report will be accompanied by a two-page Tennessee factsheet, showing what we spend on coal and where it’s from, and presenting some choice information about how our coal expenditures compare with our energy efficiency expenditures. A four-page executive summary will also be available, presenting all the rankings.

The findings of this report and the supplemental materials should prove valuable to education and outreach efforts on both state and federal policies for renewables, efficiency, climate-change mitigation, clean air, and clean water.

Robert Cowin serves as the Legislative Representative for Clean Energy with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Robert represents UCS on Capital Hill on issues of coal and coal with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), nuclear energy and nuclear safety and security. Prior to joining UCS, Robert spent several years working for the National Environmental Trust (now Pew Environmental Group) as an advocate on clean air issues, climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
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