TVA’s Cumberland Fossil Gas Plans Run Afoul of Nation’s Decarbonization Goals 

Decision comes on the heels of TVA ordering rolling blackouts during December's winter storm due to coal and gas plant failures

January 6, 2023
Contact: Amy Rawe, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected]

KNOXVILLE, TN – Today, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) made a final decision to retire the Cumberland Fossil Plant northwest of Nashville and replace it with a new 1,450-megawatt fossil gas plant and 32-mile pipeline. This decision comes just over two weeks after TVA ordered rolling blackouts for millions of customers after coal and gas plants failed during the record-breaking winter storm Elliot. 

In response to TVA’s decision to replace the Cumberland Fossil Plant with gas, Dr. Stephen A. Smith, SACE’s Executive Director, issued the following statement:

“While we at SACE support TVA’s decision to retire the Cumberland Fossil Plant, we are disappointed that TVA has made the ill-informed decision to replace it with a new 1,450 MW fossil gas plant and 32-mile pipeline. TVA continues to expand fossil fuel infrastructure despite being an extension of the federal administration, which has clear decarbonization targets. TVA should be leading the way toward our energy future, but this decision to continue long-term commitments to fossil fuels is out of alignment with the nation’s carbon-free goals. 

In addition, TVA’s rolling blackouts during December’s winter storm resulted from failed fossil fuel infrastructure, including gas plants. A broader commitment to renewable energy and energy storage would be a wiser long-term solution to meet TVA’s reliability and carbon goals. 

TVA’s decision to dig its heels into the high costs of a fossil gas plant and pipeline in Cumberland is yet another indication that the public utility has run afoul of its mission and the administration’s goals, and must have oversight from an independent body.”


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