TVA moving in the right direction

George Cavros | September 16, 2010 | Press Releases

But draft Plan still has room for improvementKnoxville, Tenn. (September 16, 2010) — Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) gives TVA’s Environmental & Energy Future average marks. The Plan moves TVA in the right direction but still has significant room for improvement.

TVA released its draft Integrated Resource Plan, TVA’s Environmental and Energy Future, today for public review and comment. Dr. Stephen A. Smith, SACE’s Executive Director and member of TVA’s Stakeholder Review Group, strongly supports TVA’s approach to phasing out old coal, but sees room for improvement on efficiency, renewables and in the overall process. SACE continues to be concerned with TVA’s enthusiasm for high-risk nuclear power development.

TVA’s draft Plan evaluates multiple options for meeting future energy demand, essentially narrowing the options to three that will receive further evaluation over the coming months: the “Diversity Focused” portfolio, “EEDR and Renewables Focused” portfolio1, and TVA’s Basline Plan.

Together, the plans call for:

  1. Between 2,000 and 5,000 MW of coal plant ‘layups’ by 2017;
  2. Between 5,900 and 14,400 GWh2 of energy efficiency by 2020; and
  3. Between 1,300 and 3,500 MW of renewable energy additions by 2020.

“SACE supports TVA’s developing strategy on coal plant ‘layups’. We believe that this is the right irpgraphicc.jpgthing to do for both economic and environmental reasons. Unfortunately, using the term ‘layup’ leaves the option open for these plants to be brought back on-line in the future,” Dr. Smith remarked. “These dirty, inefficient power plants need to be shut down once and for all as we transition to cleaner sources of energy.” In this category, SACE gave TVA a “B+”.

TVA gets a “B-” for leadership on energy efficiency. Although the goals outlined in the draft plan are a good improvement, they continue to fall short of TVA taking a true leadership position. “While we support TVA’s new vision to be a leader in the Southeast on efficiency, this unfortunately isn’t a very high standard.” Commented Dr. Smith. “TVA’s target levels of efficiency may not even reach their regional leadership goal when you look at what utilities like Gainesville Regional Utilities is accomplishing with its efficiency programs. We expect an institution as prestigious as TVA to be pursuing a national leadership position in this regard.”

Unfortunately, TVA could only muster a “C-” for its efforts to develop renewable energy resources. “TVA has made improvements in their commitment to renewables with their purchases of wind power and the ongoing development of Generation Partners. But there remain many questions surrounding TVA’s commitment to further development of renewable energy,” said Dr. Smith. “We have not seen the level of budget or staff commitments from TVA with respect to renewables like we are beginning to see with respect to efficiency. We also have no indication that TVA would be bound by these goals nor whether any portion of these renewables would come from inside the Valley.”

Regarding the planning process in general, SACE gives TVA a “B” for using best industry practices and an “Incomplete” for its efforts at making appropriate assumptions for energy costs and economic opportunities. “The planning process certainly fell within industry standards and TVA made great efforts to include stakeholder and public involvement, but TVA still struggles with fully valuing all the benefits that energy efficiency and renewables bring to the Valley,” Smith said. “We remain disappointed that TVA has yet to provide us with critical information we have requested repeatedly about their cost assumptions. Without this information we can’t determine whether TVA’s assessment of their resource options was appropriately made. This is why TVA received an “I” for incomplete regarding their assumptions of energy costs and economic opportunities. We consider this a significant issue that we are continually attempting to work through with TVA. Unfortunately it calls the whole process into question when TVA withholds information.” # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the

1 “EEDR” stands for energy efficiency and demand response.
2 “GWh” stands for gigawatt hours, a measure of actual generation as opposed MW, which is a measure of capacity.